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Would you book a lockdown family photoshoot?

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Would you book a lockdown family photoshoot? LEE BOYCE on a surreal lunch break posing outside the front door as photographers adapt

  • Photographers in limbo with events and jobs cancelled due to pandemic
  • One Essex-based photographer has raised nearly £2,000 for charity 
  • Consumer Trends on the doorstep photography craze sweeping social media
  • We also ask photographers how they’ve adapted under lockdown 

Tuesday lunchtime was one of the more unusual ones. Working from home and balmy 25 degree heat aside, I partook in a lockdown family photoshoot.

Essentially, a photographer rocked up on her daily exercise break and spent 20 minutes taking pictures of my wife, daughter and I outside the front of our house while socially distancing.

We posed with fishing chairs on the driveway, my daughter blowing a dandelion, me throwing her in the air along with all manner of shots of her mastering her walking down our quiet street, with brilliant blue skies as the backdrop.

Breaking free: My daughter enjoying her lockdown photoshoot with a proud parents in the backdrop

It was surreal and I’m pretty sure the neighbours were twitching their blinds, laughing at our folly. If the lens was on the other face, I’d do the same. 

I must admit, when I found out about the shoot myself, I was a little nonplussed.

A week earlier, I had opened my birthday card from my wife Danielle and it said: be ready for our lockdown photoshoot on Tuesday. I thought she was joking, only it turned out she wasn’t. 

But, despite my cynicism, it ended up being a laugh: mainly, because unlike a conventional photoshoot, I really didn’t care what I looked like.

Our wedding photographs, engagement shoot in Sardinia, a maternity one in Hylands Park, Chelmsford and a newborn shoot at home, I remember feeling slightly conscious of making sure you I looked as perfect as possible.

The thought of: ‘you’ll be looking at these for years to come’, puts pressure on the shoot.

This time around, the aim of the game was more ‘lockdown chic’ the better. 

Look of love: The short shoot was a bit of light relief from the reality of a pandemic - for a while my wife Danielle (pictured) and I forgot about the madness

Look of love: The short shoot was a bit of light relief from the reality of a pandemic – for a while my wife Danielle (pictured) and I forgot about the madness

We can look back and reminisce on our personal lockdown adventure with a teething toddler and a main bedroom adapted office.

Scruffy shorts, creased t-shirt, lockdown paunch and messy, self-cut hair was on show from yours truly.  

You could choose to throw in some other pandemic props: loo roll, wine bottles and the remote control spring to mind. We kept ours pretty low-key.

Consumer Trends takes a look at how photographers are adapting to fill the void of cancelled bookings.

Relaxed: The shoot was conducted in my lunch hour

Cuddles: Hugging my daughter on the shoot

Messing around: We had dozens of photos from our shoot (I’ve picked ones without showing my daughter’s face) and you can see how relaxed I was

I’ve raised £1,700 for charity

Kerry Green, 42, has been a photographer for more than a decade. Usually, she’d capture weddings and family portraits in homes.

But since lockdown in March, she’s had to adapt – and that’s how she ended up taking photographs of us on our doorstep, Danielle spotted her on social media. 

You can see a collection of her lockdown shots on her photography business Facebook page.

Kerry Green: The Photographer has become a fundraising hero in lockdown

Kerry Green: The Photographer has become a fundraising hero in lockdown

She says has photographed 80 families outside the front of their homes. She charges £50 for the shoot, with a portion going to Southend Hospital Charity.

Her initial goal was to raise £100 for charity – a goal she smashed in a few days. 

She is now on course to raise £2,000 for charity from the lockdown shoots, while also keeping her own bills paid.

Kerry says: ‘The inspiration behind the lockdown shoots was seeing lots of acts of kindness and wanting to do something myself.

‘I have a big family and we have a volunteer who shops for us because my mum, who is 70 and has diabetes and asthma, lives with us.

‘My brother, who has autism and is unable to live independently, also lives with us. 

‘I live with my partner, John, my eldest daughter Ella, aged 19, who also has autism and is unable to live independently, our daughter Alice aged 8 and our son, Lucas who’s 14 months.

 This project has been very good for my mental health and given me the opportunity to have a purpose, other than mum, daughter, sister, partner and carer.
Kerry Green – photographer 

‘There’s a lot of dependents in our home. I felt quite helpless not being able to do anything except stay at home to protect the NHS.

‘This project has been very good for my mental health and given me the opportunity to have a purpose, other than mum, daughter, sister, partner and carer.’

She believes the portraits have given families in our local town an amazing memory keepsake for generations to come.

She adds that it is strange to socially distance from clients – but it has been great to see more of the local area and meet all manner of families.

One shoot that stands out, she says, is photographing a paramedic with his family who described to her how coronavirus has affected his job. 

There are photographers up and down the country doing the same, or adapting in other ways to get by.  

How are photographers dealing with cancelled jobs? 

Photographers are usually freelance and much of their income typically comes from booked jobs – from weddings and corporate events, to specialist photography such as food or fashion. 

Some, who have limited companies, have been able to furlough themselves, but for others, they’ve taken the opportunity to do something different.  

I asked others how they have adapted and the response was overwhelming.  

In terms of the lockdown shoot craze, you can look at the thousands of posts on social media with #doorstepportraits and #doorstepphotography.

Sally Rose is a photographer in East London who usually does fashion and wedding shoots. 

Since the Government loosened lockdown restrictions, she’s begun offering the service to capture important moments happening during lockdown on people’s doorsteps.

She’s captured birthdays, weddings that would have been, new babies or just commemorating lockdown for posterity and has five booked in for this weekend alone.

Others, including Debbie Hare in her Berkshire and Surrey area, are doing the same.  

Outside of lockdown shoots, one photographer Jan Enkelmann started a project snapping London’s rare empty streets. You can buy the prints for £45 here.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Scholey from London, has been undertaking FaceTime photoshoots with people all over the world and will be publishing a fine arts book – all profits being donated to Alzheimer’s UK.

She said: ‘I’ve been trying to make it my challenge to photograph as many different countries as possible.

‘FaceTime photoshoots have been a challenge in themselves as it’s a whole new way of shooting. However, it’s been such good fun.’ 

Adapting: A food photographer says they've plastered their wall to have blank space for seductive produce shots, like this burger

Adapting: A food photographer says they’ve plastered their wall to have blank space for seductive produce shots, like this burger

A food photographer known as Figgy Roll says their main clients are a farm shop with a fishmonger and butchers. 

To take shots now from home rather than in the shop, they say they’d had to learn to cook, fillet a fish and even plaster a wall to have a blank space for shots.

Based in Frome, Somerset, they say they’ve been really busy as small businesses realised they needed to get visual with their products and get online quickly to sell to locals.

They said: ‘I’ve had to communicate with fisherman out catching fish for the farm in Brixham to make sure I can get up at stupid o-clock to arrive around the same time for the fish shots before entering the store.’

Consumer Trends

This is Money assistant editor and consumer journalist, Lee Boyce, writes his Consumer Trends column every Saturday.

It ranges from food and drink and retail, to financial services and travel. 

Have an idea or suggestion? Get in touch:

[email protected] 

Carla Speight, based in the North West, is a celebrity photographer, capturing the likes of Jason Manford and Lewis Capaldi.

She has started an online academy to help small business owners, PR and marketing professionals and content creators navigate the art of professional image creation during lockdown and ongoing social distancing measures.

Margaret Pattillo, is also a celebrity lifestyle photographer who has shot Bill Murray, Lil Kim, Rick Ross, Ricky Gervais, Ben Stiller and Jamie Foxx in her career. 

She too has adapted by taking FaceTime photoshoots. So far she has shot several influencers and models with a combined following of more than 32million including Demi Rose, Amanda Elise and Barbie Blank.

Meanwhile, Graeme Purdy, an international wildlife photographer had to cancel a trip to remote Siberia last month – where he was hoping to photograph rare Amur Leopards – and has adapted to being at home.

He has been enjoying lockdown and photographing British wildlife, particularly elusive foxes, for a photo project called ‘Mr Fox Comes to Tea.’

He has been feeding a couple of foxes every night for weeks, waiting to capture the perfect photographs, with prints going on sale imminently. 

Mr Fox Comes to Tea: Photographer Graeme Purdy couldn't photograph rare Leopards in Siberia and has adapted to local wildlife instead

Mr Fox Comes to Tea: Photographer Graeme Purdy couldn’t photograph rare Leopards in Siberia and has adapted to local wildlife instead

Zelda de Hollander, a professional photographer based in Bournemouth, Dorset has a home studio – clients have been dropping their products off to her doorstep, and collecting when done.

She’s moved much of her business outside – for example, she has created a pop-up studio in a gazebo in the garden for anyone that wants business head shots without the need to go inside but practicing social distancing. 

Marc Hayden, based in North London, usually photographs sports and activewear. 

Since the lockdown, he has had to adapt to shoot more products, such as trainers, at home.

He said: ‘I have been able to set up a studio in the garage and it’s worked out well. I’m enjoying developing my product photography, and it was something I was planning on doing anyway.’

Home studio: Marc Hayden has created a studio to shoot trainers in his garage

End result: Here is one shot of a pair of black Nike Air Max trainers

Home studio: Marc Hayden is shooting clothing such as trainers in his garage – here is his studio and the end result of a Nike Air Max shoot

We might make it an annual event 

When we received the photographs the day after the shoot (some of which are at the top of the story – I’ve chosen not to publish ones showing my daughter’s face), we were blown away by just how much we loved them.

For £50, we had the images – but then, as you’re flicking through, you remember the hard work photographers do outside just taking the shots – which in itself is a task with lighting, along with the potential for unruly children and pets – the hours editing and endless buffering of file downloads.

It was well worth the money, in my opinion. 

The shoot felt relaxed – after a busy morning at work, I simply stepped outside the door when Kerry arrived and away she went.

We can look back and tell my daughter: this was our lockdown. 

One of the real boons of working from home has been spending more time with her – and I was fortunate to watch her first steps, which I might have missed otherwise.

This will be a way for us to remember it, even if the photos won’t take pride of place like our wedding shots or her newborn pictures.

We enjoyed it so much we might book Kerry next year for something similar – an easy, casual, stress-free way to have some professional photographs as our daughter grows up, just in a natural environment without much faffing about. 

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