How to Safely Photograph Weddings During the Pandemic

how to safely photography weddings during the pandemic

As COVID-19 case numbers continue to spike, today we’re discussing how to safely photograph weddings during the pandemic. The wedding industry has taken a massive hit this year due to the measures implemented to slow down the spread of COVID-19. It has affected not only couples planning their wedding, but also all the vendors involved. This includes venues, planners, wedding outfit stores, florists, caterers, photographers, videographers, etc…

As a wedding photographer, I spent the early weeks of the pandemic figuring out how to best handle weddings being cancelled, postponed or turned into micro-weddings/elopements. As I prepared for how to safely photograph weddings during the pandemic, I have been doing my research and have started asking around.

After conversing with a number of photographers that had already shot a few weddings, it has become clear to me that the safety regulations put forth by the authorities are often not being followed. Apparently, at many weddings there is barely any physical distancing and hardly anyone wears masks. Not to mention, the consumption of alcohol leads to even more uninhibited behavior.

The article Weddings as a Coronavirus Super-Spreader Worry published in The New York Times (1) states that ”Despite precautions, the coronavirus has swept through a number of weddings, large and small, infecting guests and vendors.” In this case, it is fair to assume that at weddings with close to no precautions being taken, the risk of catching the Coronavirus dramatically increases.

This is quite alarming! Therefore, I have spent the past couple of weeks informing myself about the steps I should take to keep myself and others safe at weddings, and am happy to share my findings and thoughts with you.

I am going to break it down into three main categories about how to safely photography weddings during the pandemic

  1. The Basics

    We have been hearing/reading about it for months now: wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask. Nevertheless, I think it is important to get a refresher:

    The CDC2 (Center for Disease Control) recommends the following:

    • Wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds. Especially after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.

    • If you can’t wash your hands, then use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth if you don’t have clean hands.

    • Stay at least 6 feet away from people.

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask in public settings.

  2. Before the wedding:

    • Stay up-to-date: The safety regulations set forth by the authorities in relation to the number of cases changes quite often. Therefore, make sure that you are well-informed about the current rules.

    • Communicate with your couples: Keep an open dialogue with your couples. Let them know what safety measures you will be taking at their wedding. Share with them any tips you may have as to how they can create a safe environment for themselves, their guests and their vendors.

For instance, you can provide your couples with the suggestions laid out by WHO3 (World Health Organisation) in regards to planning a wedding:

  1. Always check local guidelines before planning your event.

  2. Brief guests about precautions before the event starts; during the event, remind guests of these precautions and ensure they are followed.

  3. Choose outdoor venues over indoor spaces – if indoors, ensure the area is well-ventilated.

  4. Minimize crowding by staggering arrivals and departures, numbering entries, designating seats/places and marking the floor to ensure physical distancing between people of at least one meter.

  5. Provide all necessary supplies – hand hygiene stations, hand sanitizer or soap and water, tissues, closed-lid bins, distance markers, masks.

3. At the wedding:

  • Wear a mask. Make sure that you pack at least two good quality masks, preferably with adequate filters.

  • Carry hand sanitizers and disinfection wipes with you. Make them readily accessible so that you can easily clean your hands or commonly touched surfaces throughout the day. And also take lotion along in case your hands get dry.

  • Take your own food and drink. You cannot be certain about how food is being handled at the venue. It could be that they just set out a buffet which could easily be contaminated. The same goes for refreshments.

    And as a bonus point: if you normally wear eyeglasses, consider putting in contact lenses instead. That way you avoid your eyeglasses from constantly getting fogged up from wearing a mask, and it is one less thing to worry about.

4. And when it comes to photographing the wedding:

  • Take a zoom lens: This will enable you to take pictures from a distance instead of feeling the need to get up close and personal. It can be particularly helpful to avoid getting on the dance floor or staying clear of any other crowded areas.

  • Prioritise fresh air: For example, if the couple is getting ready in a smaller room, open any available windows, and if there are too many people, like family members hanging around, kindly ask them to step out of the room. Better yet, if you can do the photos outside, do just that.

  • Keep clean: If you take any detail shots, like of the rings, wash or disinfect your hands before and after. Also wipe down all your equipment after the wedding.

  • Keep your hands to yourself: And if you are anything like me, where under normal circumstances, I would personally make slight adjustments to the bride’s hair or dress, but during this pandemic, avoid doing so. Instead, ask someone else that the bride anyway has close physical contact with to take over making these tweaks, if necessary.

Closing thoughts:

If you are at a wedding and the couple asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable or puts you at risk of getting the Coronavirus, you have the right to say no. It is important to keep in mind the seriousness of this virus. There is a line between serving our clients well and putting our health at risk. We also have an obligation to protect our loved ones.

In the same token, if you have any symptoms or you know that you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, do NOT go to the wedding. You have a responsibility to keep others safe. Tell your couple(s) in a timely manner and help them in organising a replacement.

I do hope that you find all of this information valuable in learning how to safely photograph weddings during the pandemic. Stay safe and keep others safe.

SOURCES:

1. The New York Times: Weddings as a Coronavirus Super-Spreader Worry By Alyson Krueger, published Aug 4,2020 / updated August, 9,2020 

2. Center for Disease Control: Coronaviruse Disease 2019 – How to Protect Yourself & Others / Updated July 31,2020 

3. World Health Organisation: Q&A: Small Public Gatherings and COVID-19 / August 6,2020 


Aida Glowik

Aida Glowik is a wedding photographer and podcaster based in Constance, Germany. She provides wedding photographers with the inspiration, tools and resources needed to build a sustainable brand and business.

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