Can a photo shoot comply with social distancing?

Jane Cox, Portrait Photographer

Necessity is the mother of invention. With a bit of creative thinking, it should be relatively straightforward to marry the requirements of social distancing with a lockdown photoshoot for headshots or personal branding. I hope the following puts your mind at rest:

  • Product shoots and branding shots that don’t involve people are absolutely doable.

No problem. a photographer can either work from their studio or home to produce product images. 

  • The distance between the photographer and the client need not be closer than 2 meters.

Any standard forms of closer contact, such as handshakes, and adjustment of clothing and hair can be restricted in the current climate. 

  • A photographer will have the option of using a ‘longer lens’ from their kit bag so that the distance between you is even greater.

This has the added advantage of producing beautiful bokeh, ie a lovely blur in the background, perfect for portraits. 

  • Poses and tweaks are part and parcel of a branding shoot.

Yes, it can be demonstrated by the photographer to eliminate the need for closer contact. 

  • Frequent handwashing is key.

And the photographer could wear a face mask in a more enclosed space, in agreement with the client. 

  • When photographic studios reopen then strict rules regarding social distance and handwashing can be stipulated before the shoot.

It’s important that both photographer and client feel comfortable with the levels of precaution taken. 

  • Discuss your thoughts and instincts regarding the virus openly with your photographer.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, some may already be immune, and others may be shielding more vulnerable family members. 

  • I’d suggest staying relatively local to eliminate the need for using public transport.

Or choose somewhere that both you and your photographer can drive to easily. Is there a local spot that is instantly recognisable by your ideal clients and would represent your brand? 

  • Your photographer should clean the studio environment before and after each sitting,

This is meant to reduce the risk of infection from surfaces. As always I’d encourage clients to bring along their own ‘props’ for a shoot; phones, laptops, a mug in your brand colours, etc. 

  • There must be complete transparency and trust regarding any illness or potential to spread the virus.

If either you or your photographer should develop any worrying symptoms it’s essential to let each other know so you can plan accordingly. 

  • If you’d rather not meet in person, then ask your photographer if they could provide a virtual lockdown photo shoot.

This might involve the photographer working with you via a zoom call to capture the images yourself on your camera or smartphone. You should be given clear direction on pose, background, and lighting, and the images can be tweaked as you go along to get the best possible results. They may offer a retouching service after the shoot from the images you have captured. Perfect for those self-isolating for an extended period of time.

Jane offers headshots and photo shoots that comply with social distancing for £100 and personal branding shoots from £350 and is now ready to start shooting again after the lockdown.

This post was contributed by Jane Cox, Portrait Photographer and member of the Barnes group.