Well, things are getting serious here, with the rapid spread of COVID19. There have been a lot of changes in our area just this week, with cancellations or postponement of most extracurricular activities we’re involved in, large gatherings and school functions. And I’m sure there will be more changes soon to come. But for now, what does that mean for AF Photographer? What about all my wonderful clients who are booked in over the next couple of months? What am I doing to combat the spread of the virus and help ease fears? Let me take a few minutes to answer some of those questions for you.
Essentially what I am doing, during this uncertain and scary time, is actually not all that much. What? That doesn’t fill you with confidence?? Ok, so “not all that much” doesn’t mean that I’ve shut up shop, or am not busy at present. Actually, quite the opposite. A certain Birthday promotion last week means I’m busier now than I have been for a while. So until further changes come in to play, it’s business as usual here at AF Photographer. However, what I mean is, steps that I’ve put in place are not all that much different to what I would usually do, on a day-to-day basis anyway. Protecting my precious clients (particularly the susceptible newborn ones) has always been a paramount priority in my work here. Providing an environment free from harm and germs and nasties has been happening from day 1 at AF Photographer. Some of the key areas I focus on are studio cleanliness, personal health and hygiene, vaccinations, and client’s needs, but until now, I’ve not really shared many details about how those things are done, so while it’s cool to clean, I’ll take the opportunity to share some info with you.
Studio cleanliness – it’s so important to provide a relaxing, clean & tidy space for my clients during their sessions. But lots of sessions can be very messy. It seems the smaller the clients, the bigger the mess! Newborns and Cake Smash clients make the most cleaning. Studio floors are regularly vacuumed and mopped using Domestos. Vinyl floor drops are also cleaned in the same way. Other floor drops and rugs are vacuumed and sprayed with Glen 20. Blankets used during newborn sessions are machine washed with eucalyptus detergent and Dettol or Canesten laundry sanitiser/hygiene rinse (I love that stuff!) Any soiled items are soaked and bleached (if possible), before machine washing with regular detergent and hygiene rinse. The change table is wiped with antibacterial wipes and set with a clean cloth nappy layer, ready for each session. Other surfaces and props are sprayed with Glen 20 or cleaned with antibacterial wipes as appropriate.
My own health & hygiene – I hope my clients have always found me to be presented in a clean, tidy and professional manner. I regularly use hand sanitiser during studio sessions, particularly before handling babies. Sometimes I do get sick (it’s such a hassle, but I can’t help it), and unfortunately I also am susceptible to cold sores. Lots of people don’t realise, but the cold sore virus can be deadly for newborns! If I find myself unwell leading up to a session, I am quick to be in touch with my clients. If they are happy to reschedule, then that’s great. I ensure my calendar is flexible enough to accommodate such changes if required. If rescheduling is not an option, I have arranged with a number of other photographers within reasonable distance, to be called upon to complete the session if I’m unable to.
Vaccination – I’m definitely pro this. My own vaccinations (especially whooping cough) are all up to date, to help protect my little clients.
Client’s needs – guess what? Sometimes my clients get sick too! As I said, my calendar is designed to accommodate for life’s inevitable illnesses. If any of my clients are unwell and need to reschedule a session, or even change location, if it helps, there are always options we can discuss. Session fees are transferable to future dates, and I do my best to provide a family friendly, flexible service.
So if I’ve been doing these things all along, what’s changed now, and how can people feel at ease as my clients, during the current COVID19 pandemic? Well, firstly my studio is currently upside-down amidst a thorough autumn-time spring clean. I anticipate its completion tomorrow. This really won’t stop Coronavirus, but I figured it’s a good time to do a job that was due and now I will have a clean (studio) slate to work from 🙂 Hand sanitiser will be available as always, but I will be even more vigilant in my own use of it, and actively encouraging clients to do the same. I will also add the antibac wipes to client studio supplies, for their use at any time, should they feel the need. If any clients would prefer me to wear a surgical mask during their session, I am more than happy to do so. I will be contacting each client individually to discuss their concerns and feelings about this whole current climate.
On a positive note, providing we don’t all get confined to complete lock-down, outdoor portrait sessions seem like a wonderful, safe activity for people to participate in at this time. I had a beautiful session here yesterday evening (sneak peek coming tomorrow), with a slight breeze, golden light, amazing grass & clean, fresh air all round. I won’t be offering handshakes or high fives for a while, but my zoom and telephoto lenses ensure I can still conduct an outdoor session and keep a very safe social distance. Thank you to my son Ethan who captured some of our fun from last night!
So, in short, AF Photographer is open and running at this stage. If you are booked in, expect to hear from me, but if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please do let me know. We are all in this together and I’m happy to help in any way I can. Please all be vigilant and take care. Look after yourselves and others around you, and stay safe!