These are trying times for all. The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has led governments to take drastic actions, put strains on businesses, and has affected all individuals in a personal way. It is incredibly important that we all do our part during this time. As photographers and filmmakers ourselves, we want to make sure that there are some key guidelines out there to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep everyone healthy and happy.
Do: Maintain Social Distancing
I’m hopeful you all have heard of social distancing already and have been practicing it in an effort to “flatten the curve.” If you haven’t, the general idea is to stay at home when possible and to maintain distances of at least 6', or 2 meters, from other people in public spaces. This can mean working from home, avoiding face-to-face meetings or visits with others and doing them virtually, or even canceling plans entirely. Also, if you have recently traveled, placing yourself under self-quarantine for two weeks is good practice.
Don’t: Go Out into Public Spaces
The critical thing to know is that it is possible to carry the virus without showing symptoms. Now is NOT the time to be wandering out to photograph crowds of people shopping or going to hospitals because even if you don’t feel anything, you could be putting others in danger. There are professionals, especially photojournalists, who are risking going out to photograph these situations to illustrate stories that hopefully have an impact. If you are just going out to take photos to share on social media or promote yourself, that is not the appropriate reason to be out shooting in public.
Do: Clean Your Gear
We all know we should be cleaning our cameras and lenses often. Now is the time to do it, especially if you are stuck at home trying to figure out how best to make use of your time. Plenty of standard cleaning gear can do the trick—just be careful when it comes to lenses and screens. If you do go out and shoot, you should make sure to clean your equipment every time you get home. One thing you might not think about is your smartphone. This may be among the most dangerous items when it comes to germs. Here’s a guide on how to clean yours.
Don’t: Share Equipment
Filmmaking and photography can be extremely collaborative. However, we would advise that you avoid handing off and sharing equipment if possible. Studies have shown that the virus can live for a fairly long period of time on objects and surfaces. Sharing equipment has the potential to spread the virus even if you don’t come in physical contact with another person. This is especially the case for trying out equipment, and is one of the reasons as to why B&H has taken the extraordinary step of closing the SuperStore. If you have questions, our chat and phone lines will remain open.
Do: Go over your Finances
Not gonna lie, this is going to be a tough time for the photo and film industries. Events and social distancing requirements are resulting in a lot of canceled gigs, meaning a loss of income for many of you. Now is not the time for more gear purchases. Review your finances, see what you can do in the meantime, try to find supplemental income during this downtime, and put a plan into action. If you need to consult banks or creditors, many are offering assistance during this time period. Make sure you aren’t cutting corners on basic living essentials so you can stay safe and healthy. Also, now isn’t quite the best time to spend money, but getting some accounting software and getting your taxes prepared isn’t the worst idea.
Don’t: Ignore Your Clients
This is a stressful time for all and many of your clients are likely in tough situations and canceling their own events. No one wants to be in this position, and everyone is likely looking for a bit of clarity on how things are going to work going forward. Maintain a dialogue with your clients and work with them as best you can. Everyone needs to work together if we are going to make it through this.
Do: Wash Your Hands
This is more of a life tip than a photo- or video-specific one, but please wash your hands often. Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of the virus. Make sure you are doing it right. Washing with soap and hot water for 20 to 30 seconds is the rule for effective cleaning.
Don’t: Get Overwhelmed
Quarantines, isolations, curfews can damage our mental health. Stay calm and make sure to talk to your friends and family during this time. If you are having a hard time, it is likely others around you are in the same spot. Having some friendly conversations and checking in with everyone is a good idea. Also, keep yourself busy if you are stuck at home. Start working on your next short film script, practice your lighting for photography, get some chores done that you have been putting off. A great idea is to get back into a workout routine.
Do: Take a Moment
Everyone probably has some extra time on their hands right now. You don’t need to fill it with endless tasks. Taking a second to breathe and relax can do wonders. Maybe it will give you a new project idea to tackle during the next few weeks.
All these current rules and changes can be scary, so it is very important to keep in mind that things will get better and people are around to help. Try to follow all the guidelines and rules as best as you possibly can. Every little bit helps. If you have any other questions or concerns, please leave them below in the Comments section. If you have ideas or suggestions for content you want to see, please leave those as well. Stay safe everyone!