MY Covid Policies + advice
My Covid Policies: Creating a Safe Environment
My number one priority is to keep everyone and their families healthy and safe. This includes my own family. Because photography is an intimate process, I feel that it is important to address any concerns you may have, as well as to create an environment within each session or event where everyone feels safe.
Because each wedding I photograph truly affects all of my upcoming bookings (e.g. if I get sick, all of my bookings within a 14- to 21-day period will need to be cancelled to avoid infecting others), I now require my clients to take certain steps to provide a safe and sanitary environment.
No sessions will be held while there is a local or state-ordered “shelter in place” in effect.
The majority of your wedding or event MUST be held outdoors.
Both the Client and Photographer must refrain from touching each other during the session (no handshakes, hugs, pose adjustments, etc.), and must stay 6 feet or more away from each other.
Both the Client and Photographer must bring and use hand sanitizer to ensure that their hands stay germ free. Clients MUST provide small containers of sanitizer to their wedding/event guests.
The Photographer must wear a mask at ALL TIMES.
Clients MUST require their wedding/event guests to wear fabric masks during the wedding/event. This is imperative. It only takes one person with the virus to infect several other people. I have experienced this firsthand at a client's very small backyard wedding. The experience was tragic both economic- and health-wise for this family. Don't let your wedding become a nightmare for your family and friends.
My Covid Policies: How to prepare your guests
Over the past few months, I have learned that it is the Bride and Groom who sets the tone and expectations for how their guests should behave at their wedding. When we are around family, it is easy for people to relax, remove their masks, and get comfortable. It is also common for guests to downplay their symptoms because they want to attend the celebration. I have witnessed this situation firsthand at one of my client's weddings, in which a guest downplayed their symptoms, attended the wedding, and within 48 hours was hospitalized because they were unknowingly infected with Covid. As a result, everyone had to be tested, could not work for 14 days, and several people had to go to the hospital.
Because of this, I REQUIRE my clients to contact all of their guests 24-36 hours before the ceremony and ask them to stay home if they have ANY minor or significant symptoms. I also require the guests to wear masks, except when they are taking photos. There is a bit of wiggle room around this with very small groups/families that have been around each other for months (i.e., basically, they have been living in a bubble).
I also encourage my clients to do temperature checks with an infrared thermometer before they are allowed into the venue. This sounds like overkill, but it is super easy and super fast. And while it is not 100% reliable....to be honest, nothing is a guarantee. However, you can put things into place, like masks, temperature checks, and social distancing to keep everyone safe...and to be frank, to prevent your honeymoon from becoming a nightmare. Nobody wants to learn that their wedding put someone in the hospital.
My Covid Policies: Cancellations and Rescheduling
Because Covid is out of our control, my policies around cancellations and rescheduling are pretty generous. I do not think it is fair to keep a clients deposit when their wedding is cancelled or rescheduled due to a pandemic. A lot of my clients are having the unfortunate experience of vendors and venues not refunding their deposits. Personally, I do not ever want to do that to my clients. So, I have positioned my business in such a way to where I can weather a storm. As a result, I have been able to be fair to all of my clients and support them during this process.
So here are the specific policies:
You may request to cancel their wedding photography due to coronavirus concerns or coronavirus illness, with no penalty and you will receive a 100% refund. To receive a 100% refund, you must cancel at least 14 days prior to your scheduled wedding date. This 14 day requirement usually gives me enough time to find another client.
You may reschedule your wedding up to 14 days prior to your scheduled wedding date with no penality or fee.
You may also downgrade your wedding to a wedding adventure shoot (or another kind of session or event). Usually, the cost of your new session is covered by your deposit amount.
My Covid Policies: Your Venue
I can't state this loud enough (lol)....routinely check in with your venue to ensure that the venue is allowing weddings to be held on their wedding date. Every week or month, laws around covid are changing, so stay ahead of things and stay in touch with your venue.