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How to Host a Photoshoot During a Pandemic

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Everyone has been been learning new ways to live their lives within the new norm, and for photographers and videographers, it's not just about relearning how to live your daily lives–it's about adapting the way you earn your livelihoods. Photography is beautiful because it has the ability to bring people together, but in this new environment it's important to understand the risks of bringing people together and how to best prepare you and your clients for safe photo shoots.


Photo Shoot Check-List

  1. Discuss travel needs, group size, and guidelines with the client to ensure a safe photoshoot for both parties

  2. Check current local guidance (because it's constantly changing)

  3. Optional - Have your Client fill out a Liability Release Form

  4. Have your client book through Clicke so your paperwork is virtualized and payments are automated

  5. Clicke will take care of photoshoot reminders and pre-check

  6. Equipment Check

  7. Camera (Lol if you forgot this)

  8. Hand Sanitizer

  9. Sanitizing Wipes

  10. Mask (Bring 2-3 for every photo shoot)

  11. Pens (disposable)

  12. SD Card


Ishan K self portrait in Mumbai, India

This guide aims to provide a list of considerations to help you guide and structure your client interactions during these unprecedented and dynamic circumstances. We realize that it may not be comprehensive, so please reach out to us if you have any questions! We are happy to help and/or point you in the right direction towards additional resources.


1 & 2. Understand and Comply with Local Regulations


Whether you're operating as an independent freelancer or as part of a collective or studio, the first step to a safe photoshoot is ensuring that you are in compliance with the current, local reopening guidance. To help sieve through the legalese, we made a short list of considerations:

  1. Does your state allow non-essential business practices?

  2. What is the maximum group size for events in your area?

  3. Will you or the client be traveling beyond state lines and need to observe local quarantine procedures?


The New York Times has created a website that tracks each state's significant reopening policies. We recommend bookmarking this resource.



Photoshoot held in Midtown Manhattan, New York City


Set Clear Expectations of Risk and Emphasize the Importance of Clear Communication


Interacting with people in this new environment requires a deeper understanding of risk and what you and your clients expect from each other. We suggest that you provide clients with a brief list of considerations and preventative precautions that you can agree upon ahead of time to make sure both you and the client are comfortable.


Engin Akyurt self portrait wearing a mask

You can broach the topic of safety precautions informally within your normal scheduling conversation, and if you are using the Clicke app, you can use the messaging function to facilitate the discussion. For a more structured approach, you could use the template below to start the safety conversation:


Since we are still in the middle of a pandemic, I'd like to discuss some safety precautions and expectations for the photoshoot.


I assume you will take your mask off during the photoshoot. Would you be willing to wear it when we are not actively taking photos?


Social distance guidelines suggest six feet in between us. Are you comfortable with me getting closer (with a mask on) to take photos?


Guidance around indoor areas is unclear, with outdoor spaces considered to be safer since they have free-flowing air. Are you comfortable doing a shoot indoors, or do you want to stick with one outdoors?


I haven't had contact with any one with COVID or travelled recently from a hot spot. Please let me know if you have, and I'll do the same.


This is also a good time to inform your client of any risk factors unique to your situation, such as being an essential worker.


3. Liability Release


Giving your client another form to fill out may not spark the creative process, but it can help protect you and start the conversation about having a safe shoot.


While following local guidance and safety protocols does not assure you will not become infected, its always best to discuss status before things get too intimate.


We have, through collaboration with some of our photographers, drafted a potential Liability Release Waiver. The importance around this information is not to absolve risk, but to provide a avenue for dialogue and observation by all parties involved in a photo shoot where there is inherent risk for Covid exposure.


Liability Release Waiver
.pdf
Download PDF • 27KB

Please note the inclusion of this form is for educational purposes and its use is not of endorsement by Clicke, inc. and is not to be served as health or legal advice by Clicke, inc. or its affiliates.


4. Bring the Right Equipment for a Safe Photoshoot


Disinfectants


The scent of the summer is Purell and Lysol, and we recommend that you take both. Get into the habit of using Purell after touching high-trafficked objects (door knobs, drawers, pens) and do not share camera equipment or props if at all possible. Disinfectants can damage sensitive camera equipment, and even used properly, it's nearly impossible to fully disinfect cameras. We recommend you do not share your equipment with anyone.


Please note that the more glitter a hand sanitizer has, you can presume its that much more less effective.


Utilize Lysol wipes before placing your camera against your face (we recommend a Lysol wipe that has moisturizer because ashy skin doesn't make anyone cleaner).


Mask


The majority of states now require the use of masks in all public spaces, and you should enforce mask wearing where social distancing is not possible. Have your clients wear masks up until they are staged for the shoot and then replace them once completed. Remember that your mask is to block pathogens from entering your body and from infecting others, but they may still be present on the mask. Remove your mask from the loops on the side and sanitize after putting on/removing.


Do Not Share Equipment


Again, your equipment is where you are squishing your face and becoming real intimate from a bacterial perspective. Cameras, especially in the case of respiratory illness, would nullify any protections you have with a mask because it comes in contact with your eyes and skin, which can still infect you.


Disinfect Clothes


Generally, your clothes are safe and will not infect you, but to be safe, we recommend washing your clothes and changing after shoots.


Some other things to remember:

  • Your mask only protects you if it covers your nose and mouth

  • Your mask becomes ineffective once it has been removed (if you are using disposable masks we recommend replacing instead of reusing)

  • Do not use disinfectant products in your mask

  • Maintain your Distance if Possible and When Possible


Utilizing a wide-angle lens and distance instead of close-up shots should be your new norm. Shoots should be conducted outside or in a well ventilated environment. In these cases you will need to account for light exposure and wind as disruptors to your planned shoot.


Open up your Opportunities


Remote photo shoots have rose in popularity and people are learning new tricks to conduct shoots through video conferencing, producing high-resolution and quality prints. Certain types of shoots, such as portraits, do not require as close interaction with clients and may be less risky categories to explore than wedding, maternity, or children's photos where more intimate shoots may be required.


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