COVID-19 and Remote Photography

COVID-19 (updated last 18 March 2022)

The government has removed remaining domestic restrictions in England, but are encouraging everyone to minimise the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19:

  • Let fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meet outside
  • Consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, and stay at home if positive

    I continue to provide safe-distance and remote photography for those vulnerable. See bottom of this page for more info.

    Below are central links to the government’s COVID-19 website and the Health and Safety Executive website:

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    Below is legacy information I've had posted since July 2020, which assumes varying degrees of lockdown. I will keep this posted for the time being for reference.

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    With "Plan B", the UK government is currently recommending increased diligence in how people interact, to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant. Therefore I recommend that the following points be addressed as an integral part of the planing for all photo shoots:

    Risk assessment – people and environment

    Reducing contact/involvement



    Personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings

    Tests, vaccinations, track and trace

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    I will require that discussions and agreements regarding safety and cleaning protocols be a key part of the planning process for all photo shoots. Below are suggested topics to consider, most of which have come from the government's websites.

    Working under pandemic conditions is new to us all, so this is going to be a learning process. But if we work together with planning and during the shoot, we can reasonably minimise the risks for everyone involved.

    1)  Social Distancing of Two Metres

    • Can this be upheld at the shoot location? 
    • When and where might this not be possible?
    • Can this be mitigated? Limiting the amount of time and distance helps.

    2)  Use of Face Coverings and Gloves

    • Will the use of face coverings or normal surgical masks* help?
    • Will the use of N95* masks help?
    • Will the use of gloves help?

    * Surgical masks reduce the spread of exhaled air from the user, and thus lowers the risk that others may become infected. N95 masks, if property fitted, protect the user from airborne contaminates, including bacteria and viruses. 

    Government regulation: Face coverings are currently compulsory in most enclosed/indoor facilities, and especially where social distancing is not possible

    3)  Hand Washing, Disinfecting, and Ventilation

    • Is there a hand basin nearby? Is there warm water, soap and towels?
    • Or, will hand sanitiser be used, with towels and waste bag? Who will provide this?
    • Which touched objects and surfaces at the shoot will require cleaning and disinfecting frequently? Who will have responsibility for this?
    • Which equipment for photography, or otherwise, requires disinfecting on arrival to the shoot location?
    • Can Indoor spaces be kept well ventilated?

      4) Clinically Vulnerable People

      Is it possible to limit their involvement to remote interaction via video conferencing, like Zoom, Skype, etc.?

      Can anything be done to shield and protect them, like staying in a vehicle or at a long distance?

      5)  Transportation and Clothing

      • Everyone should use their own vehicle, as only those from the same household are permitted to ride in the same vehicle
      • Can arrangements be made for those without a vehicle so they can avoid using public transport on the way to the shoot location?
      • Wear clean clothes for the shoot, as freshly washed clothing has has less risk of virus buildup

      6)  Compliance and Responsibility at the Shoot

      • What is the minimum number of people required at the shoot?
      • Does the complexity or number of people involved at a shoot require a COVID Compliance Officer? This person’s sole responsibility would be to ensure that everyone follows COVID-secure protocols. This can reduce stress levels for everyone, and thereby lead to quicker and better results.
      • Can the shoot area be controlled to the extent that an entrance and exit can be created, and perhaps establish a one-way direction rule for how and where people can move about? Can areas be roped off, or rope/tape laid to mark boundaries? 

      7)  Health Check – Pre and Post Shoot

      • The afternoon prior to the shoot date, everyone involved should be contacted to inquire about their health; is anyone showing symptoms? A decision should then be made that afternoon as to whether the shoot will take place, be delayed, or cancelled.
      • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of one or more of the following:

                - new continuous cough

                - high temperature (above 37.8°C)

                - loss of smell or taste

      • Likewise, everyone involved at the shoot will be made aware that, should they develop symptoms within 21 days after the shoot, they have a responsibility to notify those in charge. As of 18 September 2020 it is a mandatory requirement to collect the names and contact phone numbers, and keep this data on file for 21 days, to support the track and trace process.

      Safe-Distance and Remote Photography

      If for any reason the subject(s) are not able or willing to participate in a normal shoot (with COVID-19 safety protocol), there are two alternatives:

      • With the use of telephoto lenses, people can be photographed at a safe distance of 4 to 10 metres. Environmental portraiture typically requires longer subject-to-photographer distances, so considering this approach may be an appropriate solution.
      • Possible lighting equipment can be positioned by a member of the subject’s household, and ditto for hair and makeup.
      • With remote photography, the subject can be directed via online video conferencing, like Zoom, Facebook, or Skype. If members of his/her household are available, they can be involved with positioning a camera (mobile phone), lights, etc. If the subject is alone, their webcam can be used for both communication as well as the camera.