With the latest lockdown in England it seems that a lot of photographers, along with other people, are asking if they can still do photography during the current lockdown in England.
While this is a very broad question, it really depends on your level of photography (amature, enthusiast or professional) and the type of photography that you do. Thankfully though the people over at the Royal Photographic Society have taken the time to go through all of the government advice and put together a full article about this.
There are of course some disclaimers that I need to put out about this type of advice, I don’t want you coming back and suing me now do I? As with anything you read this is my own personal interpretation and as such it is not in any way legal guidance. Also please note the date of this article, with government rules changing all of the time these rules may also change not only by date but also on a regional level.
Now that is out of the way it’s time to begin to have a look at what we can and can’t do.
The main instruction from the government is that you should stay at home unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home. You should also limit your contact with others and take precautions to protect yourself and others.
Photography does have its benefits for people’s mental health by taking photographs of their experiences and surroundings. It is also within the guidelines to continue with a practical level of photography both indoors and outdoors.
Unfortunately, though photography cannot be done as a group experience due to not being able to meet up with people outside of your home or ‘social bubble’. It is still possible to have that interaction with other photographers. Some groups are holding virtual meetups or there are some photographers, like myself, who provide photographers the ability to chat and share their photos on social media.
The safest place for photography during the lockdown is in your own home or garden. There are so many ways in which you can explore different styles of photography without leaving your own home, you can even get the kids involved and call it home schooling (I will be posting some challenges on this soon so keep checking back).
The government guidelines are specific on the reasons for going out, shopping for essentials, exercise, etc. The guidelines also currently state that you cannot go out specifically for leisure or recreational reasons, this includes photography.
It is however possible to go out for exercise although you must ‘stay local’. For some that may not mean you can visit the countryside, beach or woods. It does not mean though that you will not be able to go anywhere without a photo opportunity. Take your camera with you when you go out on your daily exercise and take photographs as you exercise.
Making a photograph does not mean setting up a tripod or lights. The big expensive equipment will attract attention and it will be obvious that you are not out for your daily exercise and you may face a fine as a result (a win here for the amature photographers without all the kit).
Making a photograph means using the camera that you have with you (usually your mobile phone) and capturing what you see. If you are stuck for ideas hopefully my challenges will be able to give you some inspiration as the number of challenges grows.
On a professional level as there are so many different areas it is advised that you get advice from any organisations that you belong to for your specific field.
I would also advise that you check with your local council and insurance provider for any other restrictions that they may have.
Although, from a financial perspective it is tempting to take any work that you can get, you should always consider your own heath and that of any family members before making any decisions. There will always be ‘professional photographers’ out there who are looking for loop-holes in the government guidelines, however, if anything happened and the press got hold of the story what would that do to your reputation as a professional photographer and any future work?