This post was originally published on July 31, 2020 and was updated on October 20, 2020.
Are you scratching your head over how to photograph your staff or a business group while trying to be socially and professionally responsible during Covid-19? There are issues we never had to think about before the pandemic.
How should we photograph groups of people? Masks or no masks?
I wanted to highlight this issue, especially when considering photography for medical device, healthcare, and biotech companies. The reality is these businesses will ultimately have to interact with those in the medical field and go to healthcare facilities (while hopefully wearing a mask and following the CDC recommended list of precautions!).
Taking group shots? Wear masks!
Our experts agree it’s better if you have to take a group shot where people can’t be socially distanced, to have participants wearing masks. Especially in the healthcare, biotech, and medical device fields, it shows respect towards the virology experts and that your company has a culture of safety and sensitivity.
Yes, that means you’re going to have to reshoot the shots without masks post-COVID. But during these unprecedented times we’re experiencing, it’s the cost of doing business.
Taking headshots? Maskless is probably fine.
Solo person shots or headshots usually can be done at a safe distance, so it’s okay to forgo the masks for these photos.
From a legal perspective, a cultural sensitivity perspective, and, arguably most importantly, from a health perspective, there should be masks on every person in a group photo if there is no way to socially distance six feet.
Additional tips for a successful shoot
Consider these additional tips and items for a COVID photoshoot:
- Expect pre-shoot communication to be virtual. If you have to hire a photographer because you want high-quality shots that promote services and products, you might not get a chance to sit down with the photographer due to COVID-19.
- If most of the communication between you and the hired photographer is happening over Zoom, make sure to be prepared with talking points and specific goals you want to accomplish with the photoshoot.
- Clearly communicate what you are looking for creatively. Create a shot list that is as descriptive as possible and outlines how the end result should look. Share it with the photographer and make sure they understand what you are requesting.
- Transparency is key. At the same time, you don’t want to go over the top with creative directing. Let the photographer use their expertise to make your vision come to life.
- Come prepared. Make sure to bring that shot list with you on the day of the shoot to use as a guide. This way, you’ll know how to set up the shots while socially distancing as much as possible.
- No, really, come prepared! Do what you can to make participants and models feel safe, especially with the COVID-19 climate. In these unusual times we’re experiencing, it is important for all parties to be equipped with masks and follow social distancing guidelines. That may mean that bringing along extra hand sanitizer, too.
- Make sure model release forms are signed. Model release forms are an essential part of any photoshoot if there are indeed models helping out with the shoot. Everyone needs to be accounted for as the form will outline how the photos (or video) taken will be used and grants permission for them to be produced.
- Shoot outdoors. The light is better and it’s safer!
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