Being a wedding photographer is a tough job. Tasked with capturing one of the most special days in a person’s life can be daunting, but South Africa has a wealth of talented individuals ready to rise to the occasion.
Photographers, like all wedding vendors, have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, photographers were left without gigs as infections surged and people stayed indoors to avoid contracting the virus.
As the industry slowly reopens under Level 2 lockdown, vendors will have to adjust to the new reality. Wedding ETC spoke to Cape Town-based photographer Micaela Peters of Micaela Sling Photography to hear the reality of weddings in lockdown.
Peters has been seriously shooting for about a year, and her love for the art form is continuously growing. What started out as her being tired of being in front of the camera as a model and blogger turned into a more permanent post.
However, the lockdown was a massive blow, forcing her to change tactics.
“Lockdown has impacted my business immensely. At the beginning, no photoshoots were allowed at all, meaning no income for photographers – and we had to adapt by doing product shoots for business that continued their digital marketing.
“With companies losing profits and people losing their jobs, many stopped doing photoshoots. Weddings that were planned were cancelled or postponed, which made it really tough for photographers who relied solely on photography as their income.”
Weddings are now allowed under Level 2 lockdown, however strict health and safety regulations must be in place. No more than 50 may gather, and all guests are required to wear a mask at all times except when eating and drinking.
A wedding is all about love, laughter and joy. How does one go about this big day when you’re not supposed to hug and kiss? Peters recently shot a lockdown wedding, and the experience was unique, to say the least.
“I think one thing that stood out for me was how impersonal some pictures had to be when it came to the elderly. The wearing of the masks, the sanitisers, social distancing has become a norm. However, its tough for people to abide by these laws at a wedding because they’re around close friends and family whom they ‘trust.’ The churches are less full, and more impersonal during the wedding because guests need to social distance, therefore you need to be more creative with making the pictures not look impersonal.”
“Location scouting has been tough, especially because so many restaurants and locations have closed down due to the pandemic, resulting in more research being required. Other than those, shooting in the pandemic is not a major change.
“Taking precautions have just become a norm, and being responsible when it comes to sanitising yourself and letting your client know if you’re feeling sick and need to postpone or having an open conversation with them about their health. “
Now that weddings are back on the cards, it’s important for couples to do their research before booking a photographer. Here are Micaela’s top tips:
– Check the photographer’s previous work before agreeing to the shoot as once the 50% is paid, you can’t get it back if you don’t like their work.
– Skype calls or meet ups are important to clarify expectations and what the package entitles couples to
– Some wedding photographers are willing to negotiate the prices or adapt the package to accompany your needs and budget (many have had financial strain during lockdown)
– Signing of a contract protects both you and the photographer, so make sure to read it carefully
– Do a couples shoot before the wedding to build a good chemistry with the photographer and get to know them.