We're In This Together / The Safe Operation of Professional Photography in a COVID-19 World

April 24, 2020

TO: State and local leaders
RE: Reopening for business – guidelines for photography

Professional photographers serve as the primary keepers of our world, national, and family histories. Prior to the mid-1800’s, almost everything we knew about our world was written by hand. However when we think of our world today, we think in terms of the images created by highly skilled professional photographers.

As an industry, professional photography has embraced the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, including shelter in place orders. As a leading organization, we urge members to be responsible community members, and are grateful for the thousands upon thousands of professional photographers who are doing all they can to ensure the safety of others during this difficult time.

As the smallest of small businesses, professional photographers are often the hardest hit by the financial loss resulting from economic downturns. That is especially true with the current circumstances. Many will be eager to get back to work quickly once restrictions are lifted. In preparation for that, we offer the following guidelines for professional photographers to use as they follow state and local leaders’ phased-in efforts to re-open businesses:

Adherence to State and Local guidelines

Above all, professional photographers believe in being good community citizens. We urge all members to work cooperatively with their state and local leaders to provide a safe environment for all. By adhering to guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, we believe we can reopen photography businesses safely, and at the same time, contribute in to the emotional and financial healing process that needs to take place in a post-COVID-19 world.


Personal Protective Equipment

The use of PPE such as masks and gloves should be used while working with clients. We recommend that this measure continue through the end of phase three as outlined in recently released federal guidelines. The guidelines can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/


Employees & Guidelines

Any studio employees or photographic assistants who are sick should be expected to stay home. Studio owners should provide training and educational materials available through the CDC website on proper sanitation, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, use of PPE, and other protective behaviors. Break rooms or other areas of the studio should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and not used for congregating by employees.


Social distancing / No touch

Photographers should maintain social distancing, using no-touch posing methods when at all possible. Until further notice is received from the CDC and other health officials, the maximum gathering for a photographic shoot of 10 or fewer persons should be observed.


By appointment only

Professional photographers should hold to strict appointment times, allowing sufficient time to sanitize photographic equipment and common areas after each client session. Only one client (and family) should be allowed in studio facilities at any given time. If the session is held offsite, only one client (and family) should be staged in the immediate area.

Temperature checks and screening questions
Temperature checks should be conducted for each photographic client (including each member of the family present) prior to each session. Any subject or family member with a fever exceeding 100.4 degrees should be rescheduled. Screening questions could include:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Have you had a cough or any flu-like or COVID symptoms in the last 14 days?
  • Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms with the last 14 days?
  • Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?


Adherence to sanitation protocols
Standard sanitation protocols prior to each client should include but not be limited to:

  • Washing hands regularly before and after photographic sessions
  • Sanitation of all props, chairs, benches with which a client may come into contact
  • Sanitation of restroom/dressing facilities if available to clients in-studio
  • Sanitation of common areas, including door knobs (interior and exterior), counter tops, pens and pencils, tablets and monitors
  • Removal of unnecessary paper products or décor (magazines, newspapers, extraneous sales materials)