Photographing during a Pandemic

Posted on

So much of our daily lives have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. From school being canceled for the last quarter of 2019-2020 school year, to sports, to so many other things. And, not to mention the personal toll it has taken with many people losing friends and family members, hospitalizations, loss of work, financial turbulence, and the list goes on and on.

Although we are learning more all the time, we are not out of the woods yet. We have – for example – learned how to manage through routine things in life in a safe and healthy manner, like going to a grocery store, or going to school. Photography is one of those things that seems optional, but is still important as we capture, preserve, and document our lives. I’ve worked with our local health department on safe protocols for photography, which I will explain here.

Group Photos:

If it’s outdoors, great. If it’s indoors, that’s OK too. We want everyone to keep their masks on until the photographer directs you otherwise. Sometimes lining up a large group can cause anxiety – but if we do it quickly, the risk of exposure is very low as long as masks are kept on while gathering into the pose, and immediately following. The process is this: With masks on, we will line up, get into the right positions, make adjustments, get everyone ready. Then, when the photographer is ready, quickly slide off masks, take the photos (quickly), and immediately put the masks back on. Then, disperse out of the group pose as quickly as possible.

Individual Photos:

If I am photographing you outdoors, we will almost always be at least 6′ apart. I, and any photographers/staff working with me will make sure we are not experiencing any symptoms before we meet, as well as the usual precautions (no one at home is sick, haven’t traveled to any places where there is high percentage of positivity, etc.) Outdoors, I will tell you masks are optional, as long as we can stay 6′ apart. Indoors, I will keep my mask on, and I will encourage you to do so as well, until we’re ready to start capturing photos. Remove your mask, we’ll get the shots, and then mask goes back on.

Conclusion

Our design for doing photos safely is based on how the health department bases their contact tracing, which is:

  1. Less than two barriers (masks) – AND
  2. Less than six feet of distance – AND
  3. For 15 minutes or more.

    All three criteria have to be met. The way we’ve designed our photo events, we break rule 1 for a brief moment, we break rule 2 for a little longer (getting into position), but not rule 3. So far, I’ve done three picture day events, with dozens of groups and hundreds of athletes, all without incident. Additionally, we advise the participants and coaches to follow the safe practices as well (stay home if you’re sick, check for symptoms, the usual list of things). If you ever have any questions about safe photography protocols, or would like to offer additional suggestions, please hit the contact link.