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Photo Sessions During Coronavirus | San Francisco Bay Area Family Photographer

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Jun 18, 2020

Let’s talk about what safe photo sessions during Coronavirus (COVID-19) look like. It’s a little tricky because each Bay Area county has different guidelines and are at different phases for reopening. I will preface this by saying my immediate family and I have been sheltering in place fairly strictly since the beginning of March 2020. My husband is working from home, my daughter has been schooling from home, and I’ve been going nuts at home! Ha! But seriously, we get groceries delivered and the only place I go is to my allergy appointment once a week for less than 15 minutes, though we do go hiking/outdoors (always with our masks handy and put on when within 30 ft of another person). I just want to be as transparent as possible in all aspects of my business and that includes where we go and who we interact with. If anything deviates from this I will immediately inform currently scheduled clients who I will be seeing within a 2 week time frame. We are not part of a social bubble so our risk is limited to our family.

Now, there are no specific guidelines listed on any of the county websites for photographers, so we just have to interpret the guidelines as best we can.

In-Home Sessions

newborn in home photo sessions during coronavirus

San Francisco County’s Shelter In Place order currently says in-home services are allowed as long as we can maintain 6ft of distance. 

With the current orders I need to maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance between us while I photograph you with a mask on myself. Some of you lovely people have homes with the space to do this, but realistically this might not feasible for everyone. It’s also not always realistic to do newborn sessions completely outside depending on the weather, so those are my priority for in-home photo sessions during coronavirus, with as much distance and safety as possible. I will wear a mask, keep my distance, and use hand sanitizer/wash my hands upon entry and if necessary throughout the session. I don’t ever pose newborns anyway, so there’s no worry in germ transfer and I won’t be touching or moving anything in the home either. In addition, I’ll only be booking in-home sessions every other week to allow for as close to the 14 day quarantine period as possible as an extra precaution.

Alameda County’s Shelter In Place order currently does not allow in-home services other than those needed for health and safety.

Santa Clara County’s Shelter In Place Order currently allows for in-home services but the wording is a bit tricky because they ask that all customer interaction be done outdoors.

San Mateo County’s Shelter In Place Order also seems to allow for no-contact in-home services but distancing is required as well as masks for the provider.

Outdoor At-Home Sessions

three sisters sitting in the grass with a new puppy

All counties are currently allowing outdoor photo sessions during coronavirus with social distancing. This was always on the table session-wise but I may as well say it explicitly: I would love to do at-home family sessions in your front or backyards! This is a great solution to minimize contact with other people. We could totally have fun doing it and documenting the best parts of summer! Want to sit in the kiddie pool with a drink while your kiddo splashes around? Cool! Want to take advantage of the late evenings and grill up some hot dogs during a backyard BBQ? YES! Even if it’s putting out a blanket and eating snacks while you read books, I’m here for it. I’ve always been about documenting your favorite memories, right? That means this is a good chance to document something you wouldn’t normally think to photograph!

Outdoor Adventure Sessions

dad buttoning soaking wet boy's shirt

These are totally on the table! Here’s the thing: everyone else in the San Francisco Bay Area also wants to be outside. It’s summer! The weather is (mostly) warm! The days are long! Let’s go outside! Weekends anywhere outdoors are kinda nuts at the moment and the later in the day it is the worse they get. Outdoor Adventure Sessions are best scheduled first thing in the morning (the earlier the better) or later in the day (I’m talking 7pm or later). Better yet? Let’s play hooky and do a weekday session! Are you working from home? Take the morning off and let’s head to the beach or for a hike in the Redwoods. Weekdays tend to be less busy outdoors, which makes it easier to social distance.

I am required to wear a mask of course, and you’ll be required to have one within reach so you can put it on if anyone else comes close. That being said, let’s go do all the fun things that are open (AKA let’s hang out with Mother Nature).

Studio Sessions

At the moment, I’m not currently booking studio sessions. My studio is in Santa Clara County and the way I interpret the guidelines, it doesn’t seem to be allowed. My ultimate goal is for all of us to be safe, and so I’ll always err on the side of caution. As much as I love photographing special moments for your family, the risk is not worth the reward. That being said, outdoor sessions are always a fantastic option!

I will try to keep this page as updated as possible but I do want you to know that your safety and my family’s safety are of utmost importance to me. If things start to go sideways again I will be rescheduling sessions in accordance with what the county guidelines are, and depending on how we feel together. I have always been flexible with scheduling because sometimes life throws you a curveball and I don’t intend to change that now.

If you’re interested in a maternity, newborn, or family session in the San Francisco Bay Area, let’s chat! You can get in touch here.

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