In this time of social distancing, sheltering in place, and all the other new phrases associated with the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic, what should photographers do?
Things You Clearly Can’t Do
One on one type photography is clearly not OK. A photographer should not be doing studio work with models, families, babies, business headshots and so forth. It’s not possible to maintain social distance when you’re working with portrait clients.
Event photography is out, because nobody is holding events! That includes wedding photography, concert photography, business gatherings and the like.
What Should Be OK
Personally I don’t see an issue with the following types of photography during this pandemic, provided social distancing is maintained:
- Wildlife photography
- Landscape photography
- Product photography
- Architectural photography
- Macro photography
The key is to maintain social distance. That means no traveling in cars with people outside your family, no meeting physically with your clients. Everything has to be done alone.
I personally have no issue with watching and photographing trains during the pandemic. It’s typically a solo activity, and you don’t have to get anywhere near people to do it. To me, railfanning is no less safe than going for a walk, and probably safer from a virus point of view as you won’t be passing other people on the sidewalk.
I’ve kept railfanning and intend to keep doing it. If you disagree, please comment and explain why!
Some photographers have taken to making “porch portraits”, or “porchraits”. The idea is that a family will come out of their house, stand on their porch, and the photographer will take their picture from a distance and email it to them. For FREE. No contact, social distance maintained, it’s all good.
Calgary-based photographer Neil Zeller has been doing a lot of these #porchraits and posting them on his Twitter account. You should follow him! He’s very talented.
Well, some people think this is not OK. The Professional Photographers of Canada published their opinion that photographers should not be taking porch portraits.
Their argument seems to be that in theory it should be OK, but in practice people could break the rules by bringing grandparents over or combining families for portraits.
Personally, I think they are overreacting. I think porch portraits are a reasonable compromise.
Don Komarechka is well known for his macro photography, especially his snowflake work. He hosts a podcast, PhotoGeek Weekly, where he discusses photography news with fellow camera geeks. It’s a great podcast.
He used to end every podcast with “Get out and shoot.” Now he ends them with, “stay in and shoot.” Clever.
He advocates taking macro / closeup photos while you’re cooped up in our house. It’s an interesting idea! I’ll keep my eyes open for spiders on the deck…
Just One More Thing
I want to take a moment to acknowledge the recent massacre in Nova Scotia. Words can’t express the tragedy that has affected so many people across the province, and indeed throughout Canada.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia over my lifetime and, although I’ve never been in Portapique, I have been to several of the locations involved – Wentworth, Debert, Shubenacadie, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been to that Big Stop in Enfield where the a**hole who did all this was killed. I’m doing my best to forget his name.
My heart goes out to all the families and friends of the victims.