Like others in this time of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am concerned with taking care of those around me. When it comes to providing a safe environment for creating photographs of people, cleanliness, masks and as much physical distancing as possible are my main concerns.
My client Susan and I spoke on Zoom to get a list of photos she wanted to create for her marketing and re-branding. During the call, we discussed my booking a hair and makeup artist for her session.
COVID-19 caused all of us to be extra careful during the shoot. Here’s how we all worked together to complete the list of photos safely.
First steps before a photo session during COVID-19
I checked with one of my favorite makeup artists and hairstylists, Jypsy Nichols, about her practices during the virus pandemic. She told me she’s seen no one for two months, was working from home and staying in except for brief visits to the grocery store, that she was available for the date Susan wanted and agreed to meet us at my home studio.
I called Susan back and related what Jypsy had said. Susan, who is a medical detective, said she was comfortable with Jypsy being much closer than the suggested six feet of physical distancing while doing her makeup and hair.
Cleaning & disinfecting my studio against COVID-19 spread
The day before the session, I deep cleaned the area where Jypsy would be working with Susan. This involved washing all surfaces with Dawn detergent, wiping them down then spraying Clorox cleaner on all of the surfaces and letting it stand for 10 minutes. After another wipe down with paper towels, I finished with Clorox wipes. I even disinfected the director’s chair Susan would use while being made up.
I provided hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, gloves and masks. This time, the shoot had no snacks that weren’t individually wrapped. It was sad not having a tray of cheeses, cold cuts and fruit to graze on, but in these abnormal times safety comes first.
Hair, makeup & COVID-19
Jypsy wore a mask while applying Susan’s makeup. Professional photographic makeup takes time — from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
After the makeup was finished, Jypsy styled Susan’s hair. Hair and makeup required the two of them to be in close contact for the entire time. Jypsy washed her hands often during the process and sanitized each of her brushes as soon as she finished using it.
First setup is outdoors
It was a beautiful day and getting the “Susan-in-a-natural-environment” shot went quickly. I’d set up a light for fill and made test shots with my ColorChecker. Jypsy tweaked Susan’s hair between sets of photos. Even a slight breeze causes flyaway hair.
The fewer the number of people I had on the shoot, the safer everyone would be. That meant no photo assistant. Fortunately, Jypsy was happy to don that hat when needed.
Susan had several ideas she wanted to achieve in the studio. Each one required different lighting and props. Again, everything we used had been wiped down in advance. Jypsy touched up Susan’s makeup and hair throughout the day. I made the photos. During the shoot, Jypsy and I did our best to keep as much physical distance from Susan and each other as we could.
Several hours later, we finished the shot list. I helped Susan take her clothes and accessories to her car while Jypsy packed up her supplies and hair tools. It had been a great day, full of laughs and fun. We all wanted to hug but … we had all agreed to stay physically distanced. The two of them drove off in their cars and returning my waves and smiles.