The Resilient Photographer (post Covid-19)

By SnapSquad - May 18, 2020

Pictures of deserted urban landscapes have suddenly become the norm on social media accounts: the world without us. Covid-19 is keeping everyone who does not have to work on the front line confined and indoors. Meanwhile, photographers are left without their number one subject to cover: people. 

Buddha said: “Nothing is permanent”

The tragedy of Covid-19 may have altered our life like we never anticipated, even after watching a science fiction movie, but and as for anything else, “nothing is permanent” and we will adapt. So, as photographers, what can we do to go back to practising our art and services while being restricted by new social norms that prioritise health safety? What are the toughest challenges to anticipate ahead of us? Are there easier agreeable options we could adopt and what could they be?

Creativity Overcomes

With any tragedy, parts of what we know die as new ways and opportunities suddenly flourish; a pandemic is no exception. As the world was literally shutting down some photojournalists were still covering tragedy all the way inside hospitals while maverick photographers ventured outside to capture surreal scenes of daytime empty towns, parks and roads. Through social media, others are showing us every day how confinement is no prison to creativity and ingenuity if you don’t let it: brilliant shots taken from roofs and windows but also indoor photos of how it is to be at home, alone or with family and even of totally made-up still-life scenes.

As uplifting as all this may be though, what about business? What about going back to earning a living? Covering history in the making will turn into a cheque for some in a future exhibition but most photographers, however, earn a living getting close to people. Unless you are doing remote work or happen to be a wildlife or still-life photographer, chances are that you have to be in contact with people and sometimes crowds. Whether you are a high-profile “Peoples” portraitist linked with show business, whether you are an event photographer in stadiums or indoors halls, or your career is to cover family events, your business has been put a hold and you will have to rethink both your human approach and you professional techniques if you want to carry on earning a living from photography and so will the team around you.

Stay Connected

The best asset of a photographer is not necessarily to be artistically gifted or even carry top-notch equipment but to be a people’s person. So, how can you establish real good connections and engage with people when you have to keep your distance?

How about starting with your existing clients or even potential ones by calling them before life resumes with more relaxed controls? And why not work on your portfolio and join a photographer’s marketplace? The last few months have seen everyone with a Wi-Fi use the internet to keep in touch, order essentials, keep entertained and keep in touch. Let your contacts know that you care about keeping in touch with them and that together you can look forward to doing things together. Remember it is a stressful time for them too and there is nothing like looking towards the future in a positive way.

Be Prepared

Gatherings and social events of the near future will be controlled by social distancing; It is hard to imagine how stadiums and halls built for thousands of spectators will be functioning, however, a new approach to portrait photography and family pictures should not be too much of a challenge as long as you and your team follow the health advice from your local authority and come prepared.

Adapted Equipment:

Going back to work with a camera and taking pictures from a few feet further away may include having to switch to a longer lens. Without a doubt, as this would apply to a street photographer, you may also want to consider this option for portrait and wedding photography too.

With brides re-evaluating their priorities and their guest list getting much shorter for comfort and safety, you may have to get used to taking pictures in new surroundings such as a home terrace, a backyard or a remote part of a park or nature site. For this, you may need to plan a different way to equip yourself.

No matter what the new trend in wedding venue is going to be, when you go out there and shoot, make sure your equipment is clean. Studies have shown that the virus can live as long as 72 hours on a surface; this means that cleaning and disinfecting everything again at the end of the day will be a must. One good and simple way to keep safe and clean while going on shoots would be to carry a special bag with face masks and disposable gloves, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.

The Team:

If your team is made up of a few people your preparation to the new way of shooting pictures will have to be faced and prepared as a team too; this may include a make-up artist and a hairdresser who will probably have to deal with some stricter health and safety rules as their work involves, even more, close and personal contact. One general rule for the team should be not to share their equipment as it has the potential to spread the virus.

In future, some venues may have temperature scanners or even require some verification that you have been vaccinated against the virus before they let you in to do your work. The fear of others will probably last beyond the ravages of the virus and the availability of a vaccine. Photographers will have to develop new skills and new habits, in particular for clients who will not want any physical contact and will require non-contact posing.
The new ways of a photographer will be all about making himself, his team and everyone involved in a shoot, feel safe and be safe. There seems to be some talk about an emergency health insurance cover, and of course, a vaccine; however and in the meantime, there will have to be thorough cleaning maintenance and lots of handwashing with soap and hot water. It is hard to foresee what will happen to photo shows, tours and workshops yet with some adaptation and because the world has to function, quite a number of assignments will start coming back, hopefully in the coming weeks. So get yourself prepared and practice your craft while you keep shooting. And if you are a wedding photographer, don’t worry about romance, it is still in the air.

Be sure to check out our amazing photographers on our marketplace!

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