Working through restrictions in photography

6 October 2020

Written by: Stephen Riosa

With restrictions majorly affecting photographers, what have they been doing during lockdown and how are they coping during this time?

The photography world has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, as restrictions affected businesses and social media photography pages. Without the ability to roam freely, photographers are left to work with the limitations of their hometowns and suburbs.

Event photography is among the photography practices affected the most. With social distancing requirements and the prevention of large groups, event photographers have essentially been left jobless. Brian Selga runs a wedding photography business with his wife called Piccadilly Studios, but with restrictions in place, it has prevented them from capturing memorable moments of couples’ special day.

“The last time we had a wedding was the 21st of March. After that, there were no more bookings because people were uncertain of what would happen,” Selga told upstart.

The motivation to open Piccadilly Studios came after Selga and his wife weren’t able to capture special moments from their own wedding, due to not having a videographer. Because of that, they wanted to give others the chance to have their special moment professionally captured on camera. Not being able to do any work for the business this past year has been difficult on a personal level.

“It’s been a long time, we really miss it. Six months we haven’t touched our cameras, haven’t touched Premiere Pro. Four years of investing in our skills and talent, and we almost lost it,” he said.

However, Selga and his wife have chosen to be proactive rather than reactive to the situation. They’ve used their time in lockdown to keep up to date with what’s trending in photography and refining their skills such as editing, and improving on the equipment they have.

“We go to YouTube, we learn how to upgrade just to be in the trend. Instead of sitting down and looking at nothing, we have to upgrade ourselves so that when the regular norm comes back, we’ll be ready. We’ll be in the trend and we’ll bounce back,” he said.

Praveen Weerasiri runs an Instagram page where he mainly posts pictures of cars. The inspiration to start a photography page came after seeing a friend start his own one. His interest in cars led him to go the direction of car photography. During lockdown, Weerasiri has also spent time improving on photography-related skills. Particularly editing, a skill he has really enjoyed working on.

“I edit with Lightroom. You can do a lot with the manipulation of light, especially with cars. If you see a picture of a car, you can pick out which part stands out more. You can do whatever you want, that’s what I like about it,” Weerasiri told upstart.

The lack of new content due to restrictions has made things quite difficult, but with some help, Weerasiri still manages to post new pictures.

“I sent out [Instagram] stories saying ‘send in any kind of photo for me to edit for free, and I’ll send them right back at you’. One of my mates sent in a picture, I edited it, sent it back and he said ‘yeah you can post this if you want as well’,” he said.

The wedding photography/videography community has been a major help for Selga and his wife, as well as the car photography community for Weerasiri. During the lockdown period, they’ve been working with their respective communities to improve on their skills and provide content if needed.

“As a community of wedding videographers around the world, we have Zoom meetings where we share our knowledge. Some of our friends who are leading in the industry share their knowledge, upgrades, everything. It’s a good collaboration, it’s part of our growth helping each other,” Selga said.

Weerasiri has seen the car community work together more than ever during the pandemic.

“A lot of photographers are putting up photos for other people to edit. A couple of photos [he has posted] are from a guy in Las Vegas. He put up photos on his Instagram, sent us a link and said ‘edit these if you want’,” he said.

“That’s how everyone interacts in the car photography community. They support each other and make sure we still keep going, keep moving forward and get more content out.”

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Article: Stephen Riosa is a third-year Bachelor of Media and Communication student (Sport Journalism) at La Trobe University.

Photo: Canon Dslr Camera On Table by Ajay Lobo available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.