My 2017 Photography Bucket List | Long Island & NYC Family Photographer

I am a huge believer in bucket lists. Do you have wishes and dreams? Things you want to do? Places you want to visit? Write them down. I love seeing my aspirations written down in a concrete list. It just makes me all the more motivated to make that list happen! I make bucket lists for family activities I want to do each season, I make bucket lists for home improvements and skills I'd like to learn. I make bucket lists of things I'd like to buy one day. I make bucket lists of places I'd like to travel. I make bucket lists for everything! 

Today I want to share with you my Photography Bucket List for this year. I often get ideas about sessions I'd like to try at the most random of times - in the shower, while driving, while lying in bed trying to sleep. I've been scrawling all these ideas in a notebook, and I want to share some of them today in case they sound like something you might be interested in. Wanna help me cross of some items on my Photography Bucket List?? Here they are!

MY 2017 PHOTOGRAPHY BUCKET LIST:

1. FAMILY REUNION
Anyone have one coming up this summer? I dream about creating special Family Documentary Films of celebrations like this, complete with interviews with family members. How amazing to have some of your family stories recorded, told by some of the best storytellers in your family! Does Grandpa always entertain with stories of years past? Does Nana have a secret family recipe that she always shares at family gatherings? Let's get these incredibly important pieces of your family history recorded before it's too late. It would be especially amazing if the reunion was held at a place of meaning for the family - a place where you vacation every summer? The house where you grew up? I would love to capture the history of the place along with the stories of the family. Let me know if you have a reunion scheduled this summer!

2. BIRTHDAY FILMS
 I would also love to make special BIRTHDAY FILMS for and about your children. I did this little interview with my daughter for a class I was taking earlier this year, and I just love that I have it to mark what she was like at age 5. What if I came and made a film of your child's birthday party and we integrated a special interview with your child into the birthday party footage? What a special memory that would be!

3. LIVING LETTERS
LIVING LETTERS. For that same class that I did the interview with Lila, I also made this very special film for my grandmother, who is in her 90's and lives in the UK. Because she can no longer travel, I haven't seen her for years and she has never met my kids. I made this film for her for her birthday - if we couldn't see each other in person, I thought maybe the next best thing would be showing her our life in a video. I envision these "living letter" films being such a treasure for deployed military family members, or perhaps as a Mother's Day gift, or like me, for a family member who lives very far away. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, let's chat :)

4. DOCUMENTARY SENIOR SESSIONS OR "FRIENDS FOREVER" SESSIONS
I would love to try my hand at Documentary Senior Sessions. This would involve some portraits of the senior (in high school) and then a documentary portion where I would photograph the teen in a variety of locations doing activities that are meaningful to them. If the teen is a dancer - then let's shoot a portion at the dance studio. If the teen has a job that means a lot to them - let's shoot there! Are they an athlete? Let's do a portion of the session at practice! I'd also love to make 60 second Instagram films to go along with these sessions for the teen to share on social media.

Similarly, a "Friends Forever" session would be a documentary session of a group of friends - perhaps over the summer right before they leave for college. This could be either photos or video, or both! I'd love to capture the interaction of a group of friends and hear about their hopes and dreams right before they embark on the next phase of their journey in life. This could take place in a location special to the group - a favorite coffee shop? The local pool? Someone's backyard? Wherever the favorite "hangout" is. This would be an amazing graduation gift!!

5. SMALL BUSINESS STORIES
Do you have a small business? An Etsy shop you run out of your home? A small studio? Do you teach classes? Do you have a small storefront? I'd love to come and shoot photos and video depicting your "business story" - I want to hear all about YOU - the maker, the dreamer, the doer. I want to hear your dreams and goals for your business and I want to document the whole process. This would be the perfect thing for your "About" page on your website. 

6. A GALLERY SHOW
I really want to do a show of my work this year. There are a few local places I have on my radar to approach about this, but if you know of any small local gallery spaces - even in a coffee shop or library - please let me know! Long Island preferred!

7. PARENTING IN THEATER PROJECT
This has been on my list for a few years now, and I would like to jump in and start work on it. I am looking to do a series of "Day in the Life" documentary sessions (photos and video) with parents who work full time doing theater. My hope is that by documenting a series of stories about what life is like trying to juggle full time work as a performer or backstage artist, we can shed some light on the current hardships and hopefully work with the unions and other industry professionals to come up with solutions for making life as a parent in this field a little easier. If you are a parent in theater and this sounds interesting to you, please contact me for more information. These sessions would not have a fee.


On my long-term photography bucket list - I would love to travel to Cuba to take photographs/video and also I want to do a cross-country road trip with my kids, visiting National Parks, and document that. Maybe once they are past the whining phase :)

If you are interested in any of the items 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 on my list above, email me and let's chat. I will waive your session fee* for helping me cross an item off my bucket list! And again, theater parents, if you are interested in #7 - also message me - no fee for that project.

Now, what about you?? Do you have a bucket list? Any kind of bucket list - I'd love to hear about it!

* The session fee includes my time and talent to capture the images and video on the day of your session. It does not include any prints, products or digital files, which are sold separately.


Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family's story in photos or a film, please contact her for a session!