Today, the average person is at risk of contracting the coronavirus simply by buying groceries or doing their daily work. But if you are a photographer shooting at weddings or other events, your risks are seriously increased. The problem is that people from different parts of the country, and often from different countries, come to weddings or similar holidays. And you will encounter them one way or another and be in the same room.
We offer you some practical steps to improve your own safety, because you still need to work and preferably with minimal risks.
It’s okay to say no
You can always refuse to shoot for your own safety. If your customer asks you to do something that is unsafe in your opinion, you can always say no.
Talk to your clients ahead of time
Let your customers know that although you are taking on the job, you are concerned about the COVID-19 situation. Make sure you keep your distance and wear a mask ahead of time (hopefully there is no need to explain why). Offer to supply hand sanitizer at the entrance to the premises and small containers in washrooms, and provide guests with disposable masks in case they forget their masks. A little preliminary conversation in which you set boundaries and make suggestions can make a photo shoot safer in many ways.
Also in this preliminary interview with the customer, be careful to note that it is best to shorten the guest list so that people can keep as safe a distance as possible. Your clients know that you are a professional and therefore can listen to you. There is nothing wrong with offering something, you do not need to insist, if your client does not like the offer, then he does not like it. But perhaps people will think about something. We all need work and earnings, especially right now, but no amount of money costs life and health.
At a wedding, stay away from crowded guests
On your wedding day, try to keep a distance of at least one and a half meters during your work. It’s not always easy, but it’s good advice.
Wear a mask
If you have an N95 mask (or even a KN95 mask), you should wear it when shooting weddings. If you don’t have one, put on a tissue mask or 3-layer medical mask. This will not provide you with the same safety, but if you wear a mask, then the skyscraper is likely that guests will not hesitate to wear a mask and will stay away from you. A mask is a good way to let others know that you are serious about the risk of infection, even if they don’t.
Have a stock of masks
Over time, masks become wet due to breathing, which is very uncomfortable. Don’t forget your replacement masks and go outside to change.
You don’t need to tell anyone to wear a mask, but you should bring along a box of extra 50 pieces of disposable masks. This way you encourage people to wear the mask. You are already setting an example, which is great.
Then let people know that the mask in the photos is natural and that you don’t mind. Many people are concerned that the masks in photographs look strange. Compliment the masked guests by telling them that you are happy to be able to document how much they care about others. Later, looking at the pictures, people will remember how unusual this year was.
Use telephoto lenses
The real salvation during a pandemic is long lenses. If you usually shoot at 35mm, consider replacing it with 50mm. If you usually shoot at 80mm, consider using a 135mm lens. This will help you stay away from your subjects. It can also change your shooting style in the long run.
Before the ceremony begins, the bride and groom usually prepare in small, cramped rooms with poor lighting. Try to choose a larger space for shooting very important preparatory moments, where you, as a photographer, can stand farther. There are great footage of friends and family helping the bride or groom get ready, but maybe now is the time to find beauty in moments of loneliness.
Avoid getting into the center of the dance hall. Usually photographers, when the dancing starts, mingle with the guests and shoot with a 35mm lens. But now it’s better to move away and shoot from the side. Of course, other dancers will constantly appear between you and the newlyweds, but even in such conditions, you can catch interesting moments in the frame.
Wash your hands regularly
There are a lot of people around, you can touch many surfaces, so do not forget to wash your hands often for 20 seconds, with soap and water. No client will be offended by you for this.
Bring hand sanitizer
Take a bottle of hand sanitizer and drop it into your camera bag. If you find one, buy a bottle that you can simply attach with a carabiner to a zip or bag strap. Thus, it will always be available for use. Hand lotion will not hurt either, because sanitizers noticeably dry out the skin.
No handshakes or hugs
During the coronavirus pandemic, people want to follow the usual welcome rituals. Often men, instead of shaking hands, try to bump their fists or elbows. Actually, it looks awkward and strange. In addition, it contributes to direct physical contact and non-compliance with a safe distance of one and a half meters. You shouldn’t do that. If you somehow find yourself in a similar situation, try to use hand sanitizer as soon as possible.
Take breaks from work
Weddings, as a gathering place for many people, are always dangerous enough during a common flu. But now, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, they are much more dangerous. Take breaks from work to go outside, away from people and take a few deep breaths.
Stay safe and avoid anything that makes you anxious about your health. And remember – if you are afraid for your health and for the health of your loved ones, whom you may inadvertently infect, you can and should say no.