COVID 19 Photography: Tips and Guidelines

COVID 19 Photography: Tips and Guidelines

Trying to find ways to keep on photographing during Covid-19 while following all the safety rules? With the outbreak of the pandemic and with the introduction of social distancing rules, personal photography has been greatly changed.

It requires new approaches to get work done safely, however, it doesn’t mean that the results will be worse.

20 COVID Photography Tips

I have contacted some professional photographers and asked how their work changed with all the limitations and measures introduced by cities, states and government. They shared with me some COVID 19 photography tips to keep that will help you keep your business alive and adjust it to the new realities.

1. Always Sanitize Your Gear

covid 19 photography sanitizing gear

The most important COVID 19 photography tip is to ensure all your gear and accessories are clean and properly sanitized before using them. First, clean your camera before sanitizing it. After that, wipe the camera, lens, strap, tripod with a disinfectant.

You can use different substances for cleaning them but be very careful with screens and lenses. It’s better to use special screen cleaners and screen cleaning wipes so that you don’t damage anything.

If you shoot outside, it’s very important to clean your equipment after you return home. Don’t forget about your smartphone either as this is one of the most dangerous items when it comes to germs and bacteria.

2. Avoid Offline Payment Methods

covid 19 photography payment methods

There are many ways to accept a payment. However, at this time, it’s better not to deal with cash payments, checks and money orders.

Bank transfer is the safest and most popular payment method in the photography business.

Credit cards are convenient when a customer’s currency differs from a photographer’s.

If your clients can’t do it, then you can exchange money wearing disposable gloves.

3. Use a Zoom Lens

covid 19 photography zoom lens

According to social distancing rules, you have to keep 6 feet apart from people, so how can you get close-up shots? For this, consider using 70-200mm lenses. Zoom lenses will let you take pictures far from people and still capture all the details without losing the quality. Besides, with them, you can soften the background and achieve beautiful bokeh photography.

4. Don’t Shoot in Public Spaces

covid 19 photography outdoor shooting

Shooting outdoors has one big plus as you can keep a 6-feet distance from other people, especially if you are shooting at a large open area. However, you can run into passers-by, and not all people follow the official requirements and wear masks or practice social distancing on the streets.

Therefore, when shooting outside, try to avoid public places. Choose remote locations where you are unlikely to meet many people.

5. Make the Pre-Shoot Communication Virtual

Planning is very important for photoshoots, especially for commercial and editorial photography. Usually, you meet with customers and discuss the details, but because of COVID-19, this is no possible anymore.

However, you can easily talk with your clients via Zoom or Skype. Make sure you have prepared the main points, creative photography ideas and mood boards.

6. Wear Masks and Social Distance

covid 19 photography wearing a masks and social distancing

Whether you work in a studio or outdoors, make sure to wear a mask. For more safety, consider putting on gloves. You have to keep six feet apart from people who you are taking pictures of.

If you are going to work in a team, everyone has to wear a mask, including models, if possible. Models may remove it during the process of shooting.

7. Deliver the Photos Digitally

covid 19 photography photo delivery

Some photographers upload finished images on USB sticks or other devices. If you can’t do it differently, it’s better to wear gloves. Before using it, you can also sanitize a USB stick for more safety. Be careful not to damage it.

Another great COVID 19 photography tip is to send photos to your clients in a digital form. Use one of photo sharing sites and get a download link for images.

8. Don’t Share Your Equipment

Photography and filmmaking can be very collaborative. However, nowadays, it’s better to avoid sharing equipment if possible, because the virus can live for quite a long time on objects and surfaces.

If you share your gear, you might spread the virus even if you don’t have physical contact with other people. In case you need to share or exchange your equipment, make sure everybody puts on gloves before touching anything.

9. Use No-Touch Posing Methods

covid 19 photography posing

As for directing model poses, usually, photographers help with them and can even fix the clothes or hair of a model with their hands. It’s fast and more convenient, but I recommend not to do it now.

Try directing poses from a distance. Explain them to your models with words or ask their family or friends that came with them to the photo session to fix the necessary things.

10. Inform Your Clients About the Safety Measures

covid 19 photography

When you’ve taken the needed safety measures, tell your clients what you are planning to do to protect them. Let your customers know that their safety is your top priority.

Tell your clients that you, as a photographer, have everything to work safely and that there is no need to refrain from capturing great memories with their families or friends.

11. Stay Informed

Since the COVID-19 pandemic continues, local rules are changing all the time. That’s why you have to be aware of what is going on in your area. Many institutions have COVID-19 alert systems that you can subscribe to and stay updated.

12. Work on Marketing

covid 19 photography marketing

Whether you are a beginner or a professional photographer, take this time to work on your photography marketing for the year. It’s a good idea to write some blog posts and schedule them. Upload pictures from your photography portfolio to your website and social media to renew their look.

Create a schedule for social media posts. Dive into IGTV and go live on FB and IG. Develop your SEO skills. Use this time to be ready to take action when things are back to normal.

13. Update Your Cancellation and Reschedule Policies

Before COVID-19, photographers were rather strict when it came to canceling shootings. Each cancellation allowed them not to return a deposit or retainer to their customers. With the current economic crisis, I advise you not to implement such strict policies for cancellation and rescheduling.

You might decide to completely remove all cancellation requirements and penalties, offer to refund the full fee of your photoshoot or just agree to the ultimate flexibility in rescheduling. However, do not to remove the refund clause from your contract. You just need to make some changes.

Anyway, when you have made the decision, remember to add an addition to the client’s portrait or wedding photography contract.

14. Make Up for the Lost Revenue with Prints

covid 19 photography prints

If your business is affected by the lockdown, it’s still possible to make up for lost profits. For example, consider learning how to print photography. Contact your previous clients and reopen galleries to sell photos, albums, etc.

If it’s possible, write them and ask if they have ever printed the pictures taken by you last year. Also, you may want to sell images to your Instagram followers who enjoy your works and would like to support you.

15. Be Flexible with Your Pricing

Another solution is to upgrade your photography pricelist.

This can be difficult and you need to make sure you don’t underestimate yourself. If you decrease your prices, you will also destroy the industry around you. However, consider tiered pricing and offering interesting packages.

Because of the current situation, the economy can be hit hard and budgets will tighten. Be sure to have an option for people who like your works but can’t afford to hire you for your largest package. Weekday packages are a nice way to expand your market.

16. Ventilate the Space

covid 19 photography ventilation

When implementing indoor photography ideas and working indoors, make sure your room is well ventilated.

At home and work, you can wide open windows and doors. Put fans near open windows to increase airflow.

Air conditioners can be helpful, but they must be set up correctly. Indoor air shouldn’t be recirculated. An air conditioner has to be set in a way that it provides 100% fresh air from outside. Enhancing indoor ventilation with fresh outdoor air is the main method for dispersing viral particles.

17. Shoot Tethered

covid 19 photography tethered shooting

As for checking the quality of photos, during a photoshoot, photographers often offer clients to view photos on the camera. If you do it now, you risk catching the virus. That’s why shooting tethered will be a great idea for working with COVID 19 pictures.

Connect your camera to a computer, and the images will appear on its screen. This way, you will be able to show them to your clients and discuss them if needed. It will ensure that your customer is fully satisfied with the results.

The best thing about it is that you won’t need to contact each other while viewing and discussing pictures.

18. Offer Sanitizing Stations

covid 19 photography sanitizing stations

Since all visitors have to wear masks, gloves and use sanitizers, you should provide them everything they might need to stay safe. Put the stations with hand sanitizers, wipes, gloves, masks, etc. Make sure there are soap and disposable towels as well.

19. Limit the Number of People Present

covid 19 photography number of people during a shoot

It takes a team of professionals to organize a great photoshoot. Until further notice from CDC and health organizations, the maximum number of participants for a photo session should be 10 or fewer people. That’s why you need to limit the number of people present at the shooting.

For instance, you can do it without a stylist. However, you will need to find ways to style your shoot or call a stylist and ask for recommendations.

It is a nice idea to prepare for the shooting beforehand. For instance, you can invite your crew to come earlier and set up lighting. Of course, this takes much longer than usual, but it’s okay considering the current situation.

20. Take Post-Shoot Safety Measures

covid 19 photography precautions

If studio photography is your main source of income, set a protocol to make it safe for the next session.

Imagine you did a Christmas photo session. Be sure to sanitize Christmas photo props and wipe all the surfaces.

After every photoshoot, remember to clean door handles, payment terminals, hard seating areas, etc. Such actions will minimize the chances of spreading the virus.

Image Editing Freebies

adobe photoshop freebies collection

In such tough conditions, it might be difficult for you to concentrate on all aspects of your business at the same time and achieve great photo editing results. Use these Photoshop and Lightroom freebies to simplify your work. These presets, actions, overlays and brushes will help you edit your images fast and nicely.