In this quick post we look at whether we are allowed to go and take photographs whilst the UK is on national Covid lockdown. We concentrate on England as the rules are different for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Rules for the four different regions can be found here. Whilst we hope our readers will apply common sense, please do not take this post as legal advice. We have provided links throughout to UK government website pages where rules can be read directly. We do also provide photography projects we can all do during lockdown as well as links to inspiring lockdown images photographers have made during the pandemic.
Pictured: Leica Q2 Monochrom. Outdoors.
The short answer for hobby photographers is no. As an amateur or enthusiast photographer we are not allowed to leave our homes specifically to go and make photos or videos. There are certain grey areas and if we are sensible we can still make images whilst exercising. This could be whilst going for a walk or cycle ride for example. We are currently allowed to have one form of exercise locally every day, whilst Covid remains a substantial threat. Rules still apply such as staying local and not mixing with other households. Read the full rules of exercising during national lockdown here.
We would definitely recommend a local walk in a park, lake or forest as it provides mental health benefits as well as of course much needed exercise. We would not recommend using a tripod to make images, but rather concentrate on hand holding and shooting whilst on the move, performing our daily exercise. This can still be challenging and fun with attainable subjects as diverse as wildlife, documentary, landscape and other possibilities whilst on the move.
Pictured: The new Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens
Professionals are still allowed to go to work if they are unable to work from home. This includes working outdoors if Covid secure rules are followed. For example professional photographers cannot work with large groups of people, must maintain social distancing, wear a mask as applicable and so on. Outdoor professional photographers can reasonably be expected to continue working during lockdown, which includes landscape and nature photographers. You can read the government guidelines on going to work here.
The National Union of Journalists also supports the notion that journalists are essential key workers and can continue to provide essential public services. We agree that photography journalists are essential and should able to continue working as usually expected. We hope that all journo’s remain safe and hope that all workers can follow rules for travel and social distancing to keep themselves and others safe at this time.
Pictured: It could be some time!
National lockdown restrictions are expected to stay in place until March 2021 or until the mortality rate and pressure on the NHS has been dramatically reduced. Previously we had a ‘tiered’ system running, with different towns and cities having different rules. We expect to return to this local lockdown situation before hopefully returning to a new normal sometime in 2021.
As photographers ourselves we at Park Cameras understand the frustration with essentially not being allowed to pursue our passion for photography outdoors. This is why we created a series of videos and blog posts in 2020 listed below, which provide photo project ideas for us all whilst locked down.
Pictured: A very lucky outdoor photographer indeed! Canon camera user.
Gareth explores three photography projects you can do from home right now, using the gear you already have and push your creativity during this lockdown.
Outdoor photo ideas if you have a garden:
Indoor photography ideas:
Why not browse these websites for ideas and inspiration for your own lockdown photography? It always amazes us how create photographers can be, able to work in seemingly dire situations and draw inspiration from the little moments around us. There is no doubt that Covid will go down in history and as photographers we can document this time in our own ways.
The Guardian has an excellent article where they have collated some of the best pictures from 2020 lockdown. This demonstrates how life has adapted and photographers have made the most through still continuing to produce images and follow their passion from home.
Historic England has a series of photographs made during lockdown, with excellent examples of images from this new chapter.
By Nick Dautlich on 19/01/2021
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