These days, couples spend more time worrying about the risks of getting married during a pandemic and less time planning the actual wedding. The stress of seating arrangements has now been replaced by the stress of making sure there’s enough space for social distancing. But as COVID forced weddings to get smaller, you as a wedding photographer had to learn about staying safe at COVID weddings while also adapting to the changing wedding trends. Even though COVID restrictions continue to vary globally, it’s always better to be safe when photographing. Weddings still have the potential to be a high-risk environment, so, while restarting (or continuing to do) business is important, your health should be your main priority.
The New Normal at Weddings
The wedding industry went through a significant transformation during COVID, but the industry adapted to this new normal. As soon as lockdown restrictions were eased, weddings returned, albeit with some changes: governments limited large gatherings and introduced safety rules and regulations that involved social distancing, the mandatory wearing of masks in public, and a focus on using outdoor spaces if possible. Even politicians got on board with the changing wedding trends, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proved that when he legalized and allowed clerks to conduct internet weddings. As the industry has adapted, so must you if you wish to continue working, to ensure that you stay safe when photographing at weddings during the pandemic.
Related Read: How to Plan for COVID Engagement Sessions
Staying Safe at COVID Weddings: A Detailed Guideline
1. Keep Your Mask On
Health experts have been advising people to wear masks since the beginning of the pandemic. Many have said that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to stay safe from COVID. Many governments have even made the mask mandatory, and some are also fining citizens for not wearing masks in public.
When photographing a wedding in person during COVID, you and everyone on your team should be wearing masks at all times. If you’re comfortable with it, you can also request that your couple and any guests wear masks and only remove them when taking photos. If you are not completely comfortable with photographing a wedding in person, consider documenting the wedding through Zoom, FaceTime or any other video calling app as a feasible option for you and your couple.
2. Wear Gloves If You Can
Though this is not mandatory, wearing gloves could also help with staying safe at COVID weddings. It may get a little uncomfortable to handle equipment with gloves, but you can give it a try. Try to opt for the ones that act as a second skin and fit your hands completely.
3. Sanitize and/or Wash Hands Often
This is another important measure you should follow to stay safe at a wedding during COVID. Besides sanitizing your gear and washing or sanitizing your hands, try to get familiar with the venue’s sanitization efforts as well. They should ideally sanitize the venue before and after each event and offer guests hands-free sanitizing stations. You could also discuss the necessity of these measures with your couple.
4. Staying Safe at a COVID Wedding with Social Distancing
By now, you know that social distancing is a must in public areas but following these social distance guidelines when photographing at weddings would require you to also maintain distance from the guests and the couple as well. As a wedding photographer, you may feel that this is not only unlikely but impossible, to comply with. And yes, it can get challenging to photograph your clients while maintaining a social distance from them. But to stay safe at COVID weddings, you might have to adapt.
You can brush up on your communication skills and practice verbally guiding your couples during photo shoots. You can bring zoom lenses and stay outside as much as possible. And you can be vocal if you feel uncomfortable in any way if someone is standing too close for your comfort.
5. Take a COVID Test
If you feel like you are developing any COVID symptoms, you should take a test as soon as possible. This won’t just give you confirmation on your COVID status, but if you turn out to be positive, you could also inform others, especially those who work with you, in time. Your clients or the venue might also ask you to take a test. If you are booking a destination wedding, a COVID test could also be mandatory for travel. A COVID test doesn’t necessarily help you stay safe, but it could bring you some peace of mind if you ever doubt your health. Sometimes, staying safe at COVID weddings isn’t a choice, but a mandate.
Is your couple planning a destination wedding during the pandemic? How to Help Your Couples Plan Their Destination Wedding During the Pandemic could give you some tips on how you can get involved.
6. Staying Safe at COVID Weddings With Outdoor Sessions
Since experts recommended that it’s safer for a gathering to be outdoors rather than indoors, you might want to suggest this to your couples as well. You could take advantage of the natural light and even hone your skills in case nature decides to rain on your plans (quite literally). Whether you’re photographing with the mountains or the beach in the backdrop, try to assure your couple that it’s a safer situation than being indoors.
Quick Tips to Stay Safe at a Wedding During COVID
- Suggest that your couples keep the guest list and the duration of the ceremony short. This will lower the risk of infection.
- Even though your venue might have them, try to keep sanitizers, anti-bacterial wipes, extra masks, and gloves handy at every wedding. If possible, conduct thorough research of the venue in advance.
- In order to stay safe at COVID weddings, avoid sharing cutlery or food and drinks with people.
- Suggest photographing mostly outside and at a social distance. Bring your long lenses!
Staying Safe Today Will Help You in the Long Run
We hope this blog helps you as you continue – or get back to – photographing weddings during the pandemic. The times have changed drastically, but we must carry on with our lives which means either choosing not to photograph right now, or choosing to photography and being prepared to take all the recommended precautions to stay safe. While it may be important for you to book as many weddings as you can to get some cash flow, try to prioritize your health. Do what you can and what you must to keep your business on track as safely as possible.
At ShootDotEdit, we believe in going the extra mile for our photographers. Since this is a tough time for business, we try to help our photographers with blogs like Top 18 Ways to Book Weddings in the COVID-19 Pandemic. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.