As many photographers approach the 30 day milestone of COVID Captivity, it’s time to start thinking about the when and the how of getting back to business. Unfortunately there are no correct answers to these questions since what may be right for one photographer may not be right for another. One thing seems to be certain: the business of making images of people will never be the same again. The decision for any photographer to resume their business will require new protocols of both the photographer and the client. I am sure there will be some who will want to resume their business as usual, but that would seem to be very risky approach. The critical thing to keep in mind will be the unknown health risks that will still exist in any photography venue. Everybody’s risk tolerance will be different and this will require both the photographer and the client to have a mutual respect for these tolerances.
Thoughts on Surviving in the New World Order
So what will the post COVID-19 photogrpher need to do to survive? The simple answer would be to stay away from taking pictures of people. How about becoming a landscape or product photographer? Probably not an option for most since the revenue streams in those genres of photography aren’t enough to make a living on. So until some type of vaccination is on the market to deal with this dreaded virus, photography will be very different. Here are two approaches on what I think a people photographer will need to do to survive during this very uncertain period.
- Photographers will need to be more client focused than ever. Hygiene and distance awareness will be critical. The ability to work closely with their subjects will be gone. Close-ups will be more challenging but not impossible. For those photographers who are not already germ focused they will need to become that way. Packing hand sanitizer and wipes in the bag will be a must.
- Enhanced due dilligence on the client’s health and transparency by the photographer will also be critical. Prior to any photo shoot a photographer will need to ask the relevant questions about the health of the client will be necessary. While traditionally this type of questioning has been off limits for a photographer, it will become the “new normal” in the business. Likewise, the photographer will also need to be transparent and honest with their clients aout their own health. Coming to a photo shoot with any type of illness will not be tolerated. Face gear and other types of head gear will be required fashion by any photographer who expects to instill any confidence with their clients.
There is no doubt that the next 12 months, or perhaps longer, will be challenging for all photographers. There will be no such thing as “return to normal”. Revenues will be decreased. Photo gigs will be diminished. Surviving in the photography world in the months ahead will require passion, diligence, perverence, and most of all common sense. There is no profession in the world that taking unnecessary health risks for the professional or the client is worth it. Be smart. Play it safe. Taking baby steps in ever task of the business will be the way to survive. Be safe and best of lucky with happy shooting!