A WIMMERA woman is using her photography talents to highlight positive memories from the coronavirus lockdowns.
Rachel Deckert, who runs Bella Madre Photography, is capturing photos of Horsham families out the front of their homes while following social distancing procedures.
Ms Deckert said she had seen people offer cooking skills or donations of food during the pandemic.
But she wanted to use her talents to give in a different way.
Ms Deckert is offering "drive-by photos" of families in their front yards and donating the time and pictures for free.
"It's something I could do," she said.
"This is a way I can do what I love. It's also a bit of a memory for people, looking at gorgeous family photos and thinking 'it wasn't that bad'. It's a nice memory."
Ms Deckert said the casual photo shoots took about five or 10 minutes and were taken on the front verandah or in the garden.
Since she started offering the shoots a few weeks ago, she has photographed about 60 families.
Families receive about eight to 15 of the images.
"I go around each day four families a day and basically keep a social distance," Ms Deckert said.
"I think I love it more than other people. It's keeping me from going insane.
"I'm having more fun than everyone else. I went out in the pouring rain and had a ball."
The shoots have also given people an opportunity they might not have otherwise taken.
"I've had people who have said 'we haven't had family photos for 10 years'," Ms Deckert said.
She said others had told her they couldn't normally afford family photos.
The photos have also allowed mothers who often stayed behind the camera to come forward.
"Mums always take the photos, it's nice to be in them," Ms Deckert said.
"Drive-by photos feel safer because they've got their kids. Nine of out 10 photos are with kids because they want family photos."
Working with mothers is a regular part of Ms Deckert's Bella Madre Photography business model.
Mums book in for a photo shoot that includes having their hair and makeup done and outfits chosen. The shoots have one mission: to help the mother see herself as beautiful.
"I'm selling feelings, not photos," Ms Deckert said. "They walk out feeling a million bucks."
Social distancing measures means while the photography side of the business could go ahead, the hair and makeup sides could not.
"I can't do the normal essence of business," Ms Deckert said.
She said she understood the power of a photograph all too well, after a photo shoot with Annie Murray a few years ago helped her see herself as beautiful for the first time.
A boudoir shoot in Melbourne helped her see herself as sexy for the first time.
"I'm more confident now, at nearly 50," she said. "That's the power a photo can have for a mum.
"It's a confidence-boosting thing but they just don't know it yet."
The shoot with Annie Murray also helped Ms Deckert discover a new passion: photography.
She became a photographer only four years ago.
During isolation, the drive-by photos and pet portraits are keeping Ms Deckert busy while she can't do her regular job.
But she said they would end once isolation measures stopped. "It's a little bit of a Band-Aid," she said.
She said anyone who wanted to book a drive-by photo session this week could do so via her Facebook page.
Ms Deckert thanked her team for its resilience during the pandemic.
"I have the best team on the face of the planet," she said. "I love what we do."
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