On Saturday, Brownstone Gardens in the City of Oakley opened their facility to 200 graduates for a free photo-shoot provided by Discovery Bay Studios Photography.
To open the facility, owner Kay-Kay Hines took social distancing precautions by limiting the amount of people inside the garden to 50-per hour, spaced 4 photography stations throughout the property and marked off six-feet spaces throughout a path. Staff also wore masks. Chauffeurs of students waited in vehicles in the parking lot while students were provided hand sanitizer as they entered the garden.
“I spent about three hours tapping off every six feet for the path attendees would use while on the property. In total, there were 194 markers which takes them from start to finish to ensure social distancing,” stated Hines.
Hines explained she thought about holding this type of event while thinking about her kids and how they were missing out on a lot of things right now with the SIP.
“My daughter is having her 8th grade graduation this year and how my oldest has all these memories and my 8th grader is missing out on a lot of stuff,” explained Hines. “We just thought what could we do that could allow some people to have some sort of closure and get a great photograph. So we thought about a social distance photo shoot and let them have a little something to help close their 2020 year out.”
Hines stated they had 200 signups all through Facebook pretty quickly with students all the way from Kindergarten to college graduates from all across East Contra Costa County with students from each high school.
Stacey Chance of Discovery Bay Studios stated an event such as this is always a challenge, but was thrilled to be able to give back to the community as their business has been wiped out from cancelled or postponed wedding photography.
“We were approached by Kay-Kay who asked if we wanted to do this as a free service because so many kids were missing out on activities and being robbed of a lot of memories so we were thrilled to accept,” said Chance. “I hope the kids feel better about things and the parents appreciate it where we can get some good pictures which can be some sort of senior photograph or prom photograph and fills the gap they may have missed.”
They brought multiple photographs to shoot each location with an assistant. Locations included the bridal waterfall area, the bridge and Koi pond, a station that was designed by Craft Gatherers with the “number 20” in balloons, and the final spot is in their pavilion.
For Brownstone Gardens to have people back on the facility after having been temporary shutdown, it brought tears to Hines eyes having people back on the property taking photographs and having a good time.
“It is absolutely amazing, we have cancelled half our wedding events already and we don’t know what the future holds, but to see people enjoy the flowers, the trees, its incredible,” stated Hines. “Even though this is a free event, it is stressful due to social distancing guidelines because I care so much about what people think and I want them to come and have a good time and everything flows smoothly. I want everyone to feel special, valued and its organized for their convenience. But I care mostly that people an have a forever photograph to remember 2020.”
For those who may have missed out on this event, Brownstone Gardens is considering hosting a second event, however, their have opened up their facility by appointment only, for a fee, for people who wish to take 2020 photographs.
For a few more photographs of the event, visit our Instagram page.