Coping with COVID: How to Navigate Wedding Photography in a Time of Social Distancing

Photograph by Sam Stroud Photography

If you are getting married in the near future,  COVID has likely changed every plan you had set for your wedding. To say that COVID has sent us on an emotional roller coaster ride, is putting it lightly. But being an eternal optimist, I choose to look at the beauty in things, and I can honestly say that the resiliency and creativity of  our couples proves that love conquers all. 

Couples have made many amendments to their original plan. From downsizing their guest list, switching to an outdoor venue and eliminating dance floors; many moving from a big, raucous party to a more intimate soiree. However, one thing definitely holds true among all these changes, couples want their wedding photographed. So how do you navigate photography during these crazy times of mask wearing and social distancing? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Here are our tips on capturing wedding photos that you will cherish forever… even if they were taken during a global pandemic!

Socially Distant Group Photos 

In general, we know that the CDC states that the more closely we interact with others and the longer our interaction is, the higher the risk. So where exactly does this leave group photos? We suggest photographing people with a safe distance in between them. Perhaps a photo with your aunt and uncle would have all of you in it, but with a socially distant twist, so masks can be removed for the photo. 

Family Bubbles 

Consider taking group photos of family members that live together or have been together during the pandemic.  Clustering your group photos by “family bubbles” is a great way to ensure people can remove masks and stay safe while you are still getting photos of your most beloved guests. 

Outside is Best 

Whenever possible we suggest taking photos outside.  This offers the most airflow and gives the opportunity for socially distant photos since there is more room to work with. PLANNERS TIP:  Getting to know your venue and the surrounding area ahead of time will give you some more outdoor options to use as backdrops to your photos. 

Masks

Not the fashion statement most brides want to make, but we do suggest wearing a mask whenever you are not getting your photos taken and during the staging of photos. If you want some closer group photos with your extended family or wedding party, it is probably best to keep masks on until right before the photographer is ready to shoot. Keep in mind that not all your guests (including members of your wedding party) will feel safe removing their mask at any time during the photos. Understanding and communicating comfort levels beforehand will definitely help for a smooth shoot. 

As Little Time As Possible, As Organized As Possible 

Recently we posted a blog about creating the perfect shot list. Now, more than ever, a shot list is imperative for making sure your photographer knows all the important stuff ahead of time. Include family members that can be photographed safely together without masks, guests who need to be socially distant for all photographs and guests who will not remove masks for photos on your list. Having this information keeps the total amount of time your photographer needs to a minimum and will keep interactions safe.  Trying to explain and position people in the spur of the moment leaves your guests and yourself too vulnerable. A well scripted photography layout that is planned beforehand is the perfect way to keep things running smoothly…and safely!

Focus on Shooting the Natural, Organic Moments 

So many natural moments and connections happen that make beautiful photos and can be done from a safe distance. We suggest considering having your photographer take a lot of candid shots, sometimes the un-staged photos end up capturing the best moments of the day.   

Weddings are meant to be photographed. Your memories should be tangible. Just like our couples have learned to adapt and change, so have photographers. Communicating with your photographer, explaining your vision and letting him or her know your comfort level is a great starting point and the best way to ensure that all you have to worry about is having the time of your life, even if that enormous grin is hidden behind a mask!