Socially distanced photoshoot | Branding photography post Lockdown
Delighted to report that, after a 12 week lay off due to lockdown, I’m back at work! And equally delighted with the first job I was booked to shoot – a socially distanced photoshoot for a local company.
Tech Disinfect is a local business that specialises in disinfecting and cleaning tech and IT devices and I’ve heard founder Karim speak with passion many times about the hidden danger of germs lurking in keyboards and on commonly-used surfaces such as photocopier panels and phone handsets. He could astound you with facts and figures about sick days lost due to people catching all kinds of illnesses from dirty equipment in offices. Of course, he’s usually talking about the common cold and minor illnesses; but in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, his business and what they do has taken on a whole new level of importance.
Karim got in touch to ask if I could take some photos of his team at work disinfecting equipment at the Manchester Deaf School, as part of their preparation for re-opening after lockdown. Ordinarily, this would have been a pretty typical job – the kind of thing I’ve shot a thousand times before – and in the words of one client, “making us look great doing what we do best.” But in current, extraordinary times it was interesting to compare things to previously.
When I’m shooting a project like this, I’m always trying to tell a story. In this case, this story was to reflect the care and attention given to thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the equipment. To do that, I always try to shoot a mix of fairly wide shots (to give context) and close up details. The question was: could I do that while still observing social distancing measures? After all, normally I’ll start out a fair distance from a subject but as the shoot progresses I’ll move in closer and closer. Why? Because, to quote the great Robert Capa, “if you’re photos aren’t good enough, it’s because you’re not close enough.” The proximity creates a connection between viewer and subject. Pleasingly, having to stay that extra couple of metres away isn’t a great handicap. By good use of angles, and some extra cropping in post production, there’s barely any difference.
And I also wondered if I could shoot while wearing PPE. Again, the simple answer is yes. The mask gets a bit hot once I’m moving around (and I’m always moving during a shoot, searching for that best angle), but you get used to it. And the latex gloves are so thin that they don’t impede any camera controls at all (I was worried about this, as some of the buttons are tiny). So, yes I can carry out socially distanced photoshoots as before, achieving almost identical results, while still being fully compliant with social distancing rules and being considerate of everyone’s health and safety.
Update: since doing the shoot, new social distancing guidelines have come in, reducing the distance from 2 to 1+ metres. Of course, I’ll still have safety as top priority, but it means there’ll be even less difference between pre-and post-lockdown socially distanced shoots.
As I said, it’s great to be getting back to work. I’m offering the full range of photo services that I was before, and a couple more besides – principally product photography. Now that’s we’re getting back to work, good marketing is essential for us to quickly re-establish our businesses. With that in mind, I’m happy to chat if you’re thinking about ways to create the biggest bang for your buck.