Is it possible to execute PR photography in a time of social distancing effectively and safely?
For external comms there is no reason to hold back on sharing your stories of adapting what you do, supporting others and getting on with your core business. For internal comms, resist the temptation to simply write copy or rely on Zoom alone as a way of communicating with your staff. Sharing images will help cement your messages, remind and reinforce.
How can this work in practice and can we create good quality content and high quality pr photography in a time of social distancing? With the correct kit and a bit of planning, yes. Here’s a series of galleries that cover at least three examples of what can be achieved:
- Case study / success story / “A Day In The Life” type shoots
- Editorial features
- New hires / headshots / corporate portraits
Case studies pictures are shot in a documentary style or at least (where there has to be some setting up) in a natural looking way to show a person, process or team “at work.” Directing and planning these shoots doesn’t take away their authenticity, but it does mean that we get to choose the better angles and background.
With the correct equipment (lenses, lighting and other photography stuff), social distancing can be maintained. I have my own PPE to wear but the correct environment, the subject of the picture doesn’t have to wear PPE (unless this is something you are wanting to highlight).
Probably he easiest of all to achieve because there is usually a lot of distance /neutral space anyway for copy to be applied. In well ventilated spaces, the subject of the picture doesn’t have to wear PPE. Where more than one person has to be appear in the shot, there just needs to be 1 metre + separation between them.
With a long lens, headshots and corporate portraits can be taken at a distance sufficient not only to observe social distancing but also to make the person being photographed as comfortable as possible. You can still achieve a crisp and contemporary look without having to take the shots inside your offices.
With businesses already compliant with both social distancing and pre-existing health and safety policies, there is no reason why a quick risk assessment and a bit of planning can’t produce some strong and informative content.
Showing your teams socially distance need not be a negative. Not only is it an accurate reflection of the times but it reinforces that you take it seriously. Even before Covid-19, we were shooting pictures at a distance of 3m+.
For traditional “grip and grin” shots, we just need to shoot them more editorially, with a little more thought and a bit further apart.
Finally, in terms of my own protocols, I carry a face mask, gloves and sanitiser (for my hands and also the equipment). Social distancing might be a reason to rethink how we go about PR photography but not to stop if all together.