Saturday, February 7, 2015

Picture Day at Stoney Brook

Awhile back I got the idea in my head to volunteer to take portraits for the residents of Mom's home, Stoney Brook. I thought it would be nice to do it and have the pictures ready by Valentine's Day. I talked to the Activities' Director, Hannah, about it a couple weeks ago, and she was excited. She said that it was perfect timing, as she was just doing up the activities calendar for February.

I asked my friend, Janet, if she would be interested in helping me, and she was excited about it. What a good friend! We told Hannah that Thursday, February 5, would be a good day for the two of us to take the pictures.

I went and scoped out the place, looking for a spot with good enough light and not in a high traffic area. First Hannah talked me into using the exercise room, but after thinking about it and testing out my camera there, I told her that it just didn't have enough light, since I didn't want to use a flash. So she showed me their little spa room. There were windows all across the end, and the light was perfect. However it was a small space, divided in half by a half-wall. Still, it seemed the best option.

So, Thursday of this week was the big day! Janet and I showed up extra early to finish setting up the space. We had to move a massage bed out of the way, bring in a chair for the folks to sit in for their portraits, and hang a sheet on the wall as a back-drop. Hannah also brought us a three-paneled folding room divider that she thought would make a good back-drop. I brought a light and a diffuser for Janet to manage while I took the photos.

Before people started showing up, Janet and I surprised my Mom by going down to her little apartment and knocking at the door. I had managed to keep the fact that I was the photographer-of-the-day a secret from her. She was so surprised to see us, and even more surprised to hear that we were there to take the pictures.

We had 34 folks signed up for portraits. I started out the day using the room divider as a back-drop, but quickly found it not the best. It had black frames around the panels, which just didn't work well. It was hard to keep the frame from looking like it was sticking up out of peoples' heads! Finally I just went to the sheet. It also wasn't great, but better than the divider. At the end of the day, after we had broken everything down and were ready to go home, two more ladies showed up. They had both just had their hair done for their pictures, so we couldn't turn them down. I just sat them in front of the bare wall, which was a tan color, hoping it would look okay.

The day went well. It was such fun getting to talk with these special people. They all had a story to tell. A few of them were married couples, who had been married 50 or 60 years; one sweet couple said they'd been married 65 years. One gentleman was a real comedian. He kept telling us jokes during his sitting, and hung around for a few minutes afterward doing a little stand-up comedy routine!

Yesterday and today were picture editing days. I tried to edit at least two poses for everyone. I only printed out one 5x7 for each person, but if they want more, Hannah will help them order from Walmart. I'm giving her a flash drive containing all of the edited photos. This afternoon I printed up the 5x7s. I think they came out nice, for an amateur like myself. Here's the funny thing. Remember the two ladies who came in at the last and had to sit in front of the bare wall? Well, the wall made the best background of all! Next year I'll skip all the rigmarole and just use the wall. Ha!

Here's one of my Mom's pictures. She was one of our early appointments, so was seated in front of that room divider. Maybe I'll re-do hers, in front of the tan wall!

A few more of the smiling faces from Stoney Brook. 


Chesney said...

Love all those smiles! You did good! I am sure they all appreciated it!

Lois said...

Wonderful idea.

Anonymous said...

How fun for them to get their photos done! Your mom looks wonderful! Good job, Linda!


Anonymous said...

As Mother of the photographer, I want to thank you, My Dear for always being so kind and sweet. You volunteer for so many things that I don't know how you accomplish everything' I am anxious for the others to see their faces, so they can be pleased with the results. thank you . Love to you.