We live in a world that none of us could have imagined just a few months ago (except, perhaps for Bill Gates and a few science fiction writers). And we’ll never get back to exactly the way things used to be. As a world, culture, neighbors and families, we’re changed forever by the pandemic; there will be a lot of things that change. What those are, how we adjust to them and whether each of them is for the better or for the worse is only something that time will teach us.
I imagine that the phrase “social distancing” is destined to become forever locked to the year 2020. It seemed to spread faster than the virus itself with the medical community seemingly all in agreement that we needed to keep our distance from others as a way to prevent the spread of coronavirus. And while the distance may slowly decrease as the crisis ultimately passes, I can’t imagine that we’ll ever get back to a world where we are as comfortable in close proximity as we used to be.
As a photographer – particularly one that uses long lenses – social distancing was always a factor in my work. Long lenses give me a lot of flexibility in the type of photography that I love to do. But that big long lens also means that by definition, I have to be quite a way back from you to get the shot. So, whether it’s seniors, families, sports or even headshots, I’m usually 15-20 feet (or more) back from whoever I’m photographing. I guess I was a social distancing trend-setter and didn’t even know it!
But there is a lot more to photography than focusing the camera and pushing the shutter button. To prepare for the shoot, we need to meet to talk about what you want. When we’re on the shoot, we need to work together on position and posing. Everybody loves to get a sneak peek of the photos as I’m taking them… but that nice LCD screen on the back of my cameras is kind of hard to see from 6 feet way. And once the shoot is complete, we need to meet again – maybe multiple times – to review the proofs and decide what you want.
Just because the State of North Carolina said that we are authorized to go back to work as photographers doesn’t mean that we can go back to how we used to do everything. And I’m not just talking about new regulations. I’m talking about common sense and sensitivity to everyone’s unique perspective and tolerance.
Fortunately, technology can provide a lot of options (and I happen to be married to a self-proclaimed geek who loves to make it all work for me!) So, as we move forward, I have a lot of new options on how we interact.
Pre-Sessions. I have always liked face-to-face meetings for pre-sessions. I want you to get to know me before we go on a shoot. And I want to get to know you so I can make the shoot a very personal experience for you. Meeting at Brawley Market or a local coffee shop has been my M.O. for years. And I’m happy to offer that again now that things are starting to re-open. But I also know that not everyone is ready for that. Telephone and Zoom meetings have been very popular the last couple of months and I will continue to offer that going forward. It’s the next best thing to being there!
The Shoot. Anyone that has done a photo shoot with me knows that I like to move around a lot. It’s fun and it gives us a lot of variety. But some things have to change now. In the past, I would tend to get close and help pose people. But that’s not the new norm. So now, I rely on whoever is joining you on your shoot to be the person that gets close to adjust the clothes and fix the hair. And while I love to show people photos as we’re shooting – and I know you love to see them – you’ll need to try to see the camera’s LCD screen from several feet back. But keep in mind that just a few days later, you’ll be able to see everything on your computer screen.
Speaking of that… Proofs and Ordering. I have always used online galleries at LKN Images. So, when the shoot is done, I process everything and create a private gallery for you and send you the link. You can look at everything at home on the biggest computer monitor you have or on your iPhone. It’s up to you!
But eventually, we have to discuss your selections. In the past, the vast majority of my ordering sessions were done in-person at my studio. I have a pretty spectacular setup with multiple monitors for reviewing your images. I’m able to adjust & edit photos live. And I have samples of the wide variety of products that you can print on. But not everyone is ready for that – even sitting 6 or more feet apart. So, I offer Zoom video review and ordering sessions now. I can share my screen and chat with you in a shared video window. And while you can’t touch that metal print sample or the nice 10-page album, I can hold it up to the camera and give you the next best thing to being here.
When we first connect to talk about working together, one of the things we’ll talk about now is your comfort level – and mine – on social distancing. Photography sessions are a very personal experience. But that doesn’t mean they are outside of anyone’s comfort level when it comes to social distancing.
I’m thrilled that time and technology have given me a lot more options to offer!