Jeff Pack
Staff Writer

Local photographer Scott Padgett is not exactly following the rules. 

But by not following the rules he’s creating some joy for families all over the area by taking their family portraits on the front porch of their homes while under stay-at-home guidelines. 

Padgett charges $20 per family portrait with half to be donated to Charity for Charity, a local wish-fulfilling organization based in Temecula. 

“I have chosen them because they are local and help the people from right here in the community I live,” Padgett said. 

Of course, he stays at least 6 feet away from everyone he photographs and subjects in the photos can access them through his website.

When it’s all said and done, Padgett will use at least some of the photos of local families in a coffee table book he is planning to publish about the COVID-19 pandemic. He will use some of the photos he is taking of empty spaces he discovers along the way. 

He said the idea to start the project wasn’t his, but he’s embracing it more every day. 

“I saw something online about a photographer doing something similar and with me losing everything that I do at the moment, I thought what a great way our community to forget all about this for just one moment and get a picture of their family all together,” Padgett said. “Which in most other times is hard to do — and telling a story of what this stay at home order means to them.”

Padgett has promoted the project mainly through social media and more and more people are signing up each day. 

“It is just crazy how this is taking off and saying how much they love this idea and want to be a part of it,” he said. “Everyone seems to be very upbeat with some having a picture taken making light of the situation.

“When I arrive at the house everyone has been in a good mood. I think this time together as a family has strengthened the family unity from what I am seeing. I know that is a very troubling and uncertain time, but I really feel that in the end, it is going to make families stronger in the end.”

So far, nobody’s been too crazy in the photos, he said.

The Wright family chose to include their furry family members in their porch family portrait. Valley News/Times Stood Still Photography

“I wouldn’t say anything funny has happened yet except for the families having fun with their pictures,” Padgett said. “Like one family fighting over the toilet paper as their photo.”

Padgett said he could see the project extending beyond the immediate area. 

“The reception of this has been overwhelming to me and I have family in states from across the country that want to be a part of this,” he said. “I am trying to figure out how to plan a road trip to catch the different cities I have been requested to visit.”

He said the project has been good for him. 

“Talking about this when I get home with my wife and we get teary-eyed,” Padgett said. “Like I have said, this is bringing families together, making them stronger and if I can get them to forget about everything that is going on, even for just a few moments and bring smiles to their faces, that is what I am trying to accomplish. All the while keeping me busy until life gets back to normal.”

To request to be a part of the project, contact Padgett through his website, www.timestoodstillphotography.com, or his social media channels. 

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com