I don’t know about you but I can not wait to get back to photographing my senior clients! The virus has been so hard on the senior class but also on all of the photographers who can not photograph their clients! The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways but as we slowly but surely get back to opening up the country, how do we proceed in the “new normal” to ensure that both our business, ourselves and our clients are safe?
Before I go any further, I would like to state that anyone reading this please consult your specific state and local governments on whether you are able to go back to shooting, what the specific state’s guidelines are and what you specifically are allowed to do. Every state and even cities are different so please be mindful of your specific situation. Seniorologie is a leading resource in the senior photography world and is looked upon for advice and guidance. I urge members of the Seniorologie community and the senior photography community as a whole to be responsible and to do everything in your power to ensure the safety of you, your clients, your family members and the family members of your clients. If you do not feel ready to go back to shooting or you are concerned for anyone’s safety or your state hasn’t allowed you to get back to work, then please don’t.
For anyone who is ready and able to get back to work, here are few things to help you move forward.
- Create New Policies for Your Business with Covid in mind. Getting back to work and shooting does not mean back to normal. In most areas of the country, we still must follow strict guidelines for social distancing and gatherings of a certain amount of people or less. Therefore, shooting may have to be adjusted to accommodate these guidelines. I suggest creating a list of new policies to include the following:
- Wearing a Mask – you may consider wearing a mask during photo shoots during this time to ensure the safety of both you and your client.
- Long Distance Shooting – photographing your clients from a safe distance using a long lens is a good practice during this pandemic.
- In-person Consults or Ordering Sessions – For the foreseeable future, you may want to continue virtual consults to keep from meeting people in person and cut down on chances of spreading germs or being in close contact with clients.
- Style Closet Items – Because the virus can be transferred onto fabric, I would highly recommend discontinuing your style closet, prop use, accessories, etc for now. If you choose to continue to have these items available, create a policy that ensures the care and cleaning of the items before and after each use.
- Cleaning supplies on shoots – having a policy that ensures clients that you will have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on every shoot will let them know you are taking their health seriously and providing tools to ensure everyone has the appropriate items to kill germs.
- Cleaning your gear – implement a policy that covers the cleaning of your gear before and after each shoot just in case anyone comes in contact with it or you after handling it, you want to let them know it is cleaned properly.
- One Person Only Policy – let your clients know that they are only allowed to bring one person to the shoot. This will cut down on multiple people showing up which would be against the gathering guidelines in most states.
- Personal Contact – a lot of times as photographers we have to fix a bra strap or get a strand of hair out of a client’s eyes, but during this time I would suggest having the one person attending the shoot do that job so you cut down on any personal contact you have with your clients. This will be a hard one for me due to the fact that I love to hug my clients but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Professional hair and makeup – check with your artists to see what they are allowed to do, if they can get back to work and what policies they may be implementing during this time. Relay those policies to your client. My hair and makeup artist is currently allowed to be open for appointment only clients. She is asking that every person coming into the studio wash their hands immediately upon entering the studio. Together we are suggesting that only one person attend hair and makeup with my clients and I am not coming like I normally do to cut down on the number of people in the studio at one time. My artist is wearing a mask and ramping up her cleanings before and after every use.
- Sick Policy – update your sick policy and your rescheduling policy! Make sure your clients are aware that if they or any family member shows any signs or symptoms of coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, fever, etc they are to notify you and their session will be rescheduled. Make sure they know that you will extend the same courtesy if you or any of your family members have any symptoms. Let them know how you will handle the rescheduling of their shoot and a time frame in which they should notify you about rescheduling or being sick.
2. Communicate your new policies!! The more places you communicate the better! So I would suggest the following:
- Write a blog post! This is the perfect content to share in a blog post and who doesn’t need content! Don’t get me wrong I wish we were blogging about normal things but it is important to post this information wherever you can to be sure that your clients are informed.
- Send Emails! It is always better to proactively communicate to your clients so I would suggest writing an email to all of your clients and informing them of the new policies you have created to ensure their safety!
- Create a pdf with the policies! Using Canva, you can create a visual for your new policies to send to clients! Sometimes reading paragraphs of information doesn’t work for some people so creating a pdf will allow you to provide a visual for your information.
- Update your contract! Add your new policies to your photo session contract and have your clients initial it so you know they read it!
- Post on social! Use social media to share this information with clients and potential clients!
3. Provide extra customer service during this time!! Now, more than ever, we need to ensure our clients that we are taking this seriously and doing everything in our power to keep everyone safe. It is important to provide excellent customer service to your clients so they are reassured that you are there for them and have their safety in mind. Being informative, responding quickly, checking in are all ways you can ensure that your clients trust you during this important time.
Below you will find an example email to send to your clients. Please use this as inspiration and adjust it to your own specific state guidelines and specific company policies!
I am so excited to inform you that due to our state’s guidelines, I am able to photograph clients again! I am so excited to get back to capturing memories and telling my clients’ stories to help them celebrate this important time in their lives. Graduating high school is such a huge accomplishment and I am so proud of all of my seniors! I know the end of their senior year is not what they expected, but my goal is to make sure their senior session is the best possible experience!!
Due to the current situation and abiding by the state guidelines, I am implementing some new policies to ensure the safety of everyone. My clients are so important to me and I want to make sure that I take special precautions to ensure everyone can enjoy their senior session while being safe. Please take a look at the new guidelines below and let me know if you have any questions.
I can’t wait to photograph you (your daughter, your son) on (add their shoot date)! You (your daughter, your son) will receive the same senior experience that LKP is known for and we will have so much fun capturing you and your unique personality during your senior session!
Leslie Kerrigan (your name)
At the end of the email attach your pdf or list your new policies! Here is a sample of the pdf I created using Canva.com.
I hope this blog post is helpful to you! Again, please consult your local guidelines to determine if it is safe to begin shooting again! If you have any questions, email me at email@example.com.