San Francisco, CA

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415-595-5348

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⚠︎ Covid-19 Guidelines for Photo Shoots

⚠︎ Updated 11/15/20. The SF Film office is still accepting permit applications, and photo shoots are allowed with crews limited to (25) people at one location. I started working again on location in July, and remotely for clients who have shipped me products to shoot. If you need photography for an editorial or commercial shoot in the San Francisco Bay Area call 415-595-5348 or email to find out about safe options. 

California is currently under travel restrictions, but this does not apply to "essential" or work related travel. For latest developments visit CA Dept Public Health (CDPH) FAQs + Latest News Releases
Jay Watson self portrait
“Longest it’s been in decades.” self portrait

How Can Photographers Work On Set In A Covid-19 World?

Photo crews can still work together while maintaining a 6ft distance. Since commercial photographers are considered a small business we are required by law to meet local safety measures. Here are some of the options I have been offering clients during this time:

• Remote shoots. Send me your product and your shot list.

• Shooting outside. This allows us to spread out and take advantage of good air circulation. Depending on the weather and location, there are also ways to create the look of a controlled studio set up with a seamless background outside. Recently we built a studio set in a parking lot for a client!

• For in-person shoots. We can share proofs with a client wirelessly to a tablet, or to a large monitor at a 25Ft distance. Some digital techs are now offering options to live broadcast photo shoots to art directors, photo editors, and clients who need to work remotely. There are added expenses to cover the additional equipment and prep time, but this can be offset by saving time and eliminating travel costs.

When working with small to large crews up to (25) people I will be adopting some of the policies and guides endorsed by trade groups within the commercial photo and film production industries below.

Basic Procedures Involve:

  • PHOTOGRAPHER / PRODUCER – check in with everyone for symptoms and send updated safety protocols before each photo shoot, provide PPE to crew, coordinate current safety needs with a contact at the location,
  • PHOTOGRAPHER, ASSISTANTS, DIGITAL TECHS – sanitize equipment, maintain safe working distances by shooting tethered or with wireless remotes.
  • HAIR & MAKE-UP ARTISTS – sanitize brushes, combs and supplies. Follow AICP and MJ68 guidelines (see below).
  • WARDROBE STYLISTS – sanitize styling equipment and supplies. Follow AICP and MJ68 guidelines (see below).
  • SUBJECTS / MODELS – wear PPE up until it’s time to be photographed.
  • CRAFT / LUNCHES – packaged orders picked up or delivered.
  • LOCATION PREP/WRAP – assigned person to sanitize work surfaces and lunch area before/after shoot.
  • EVERYONE – respect 6’ft social distancing, receive a contactless temperature check prior to working on set, wear PPE, wash hands frequently, limit handling supplies and equipment outside of your role, travel to shoot location independently, bring personal drink container to the shoot (let’s reduce waste anyway).

Guidance For Photo Shoots

General Work Guidance:

How Will Covid19 Affect Photos Shoots?

Overall I am doing more preparations before each job, and we are forced to slow down a little as we follow guidelines on set. However we can still be productive by: 1) prioritizing the shot list, 2) having an efficient schedule, 3) making selections on-line after the shoot, 4) working with a digital tech, and/or 5) spreading out the work over multiple shoot days when the budget allows.

I really look forward to the day when I can delete this post. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy the process of working with everyone. The chest bumps and bro shakes are on hold, but we will still crack jokes, play good music, make fun images, and of course – drink coffee.

High fives from 6 ft.

– Jay Watson


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