Am I able to take photographs in lockdown?

As restrictions tighten, are photographers able to take photos during lockdown?

Across the UK, coronavirus restrictions have had an enormous effect on our everyday life. As a national lockdown is imposed across England, according to government guidance, people should only leave their homes to shop for basic necessities, exercise and to visit either support or childcare bubbles.

For some, the rules can be quite confusing and for those of us who rely on photography either for work or as a way to escape the stresses of day-to-day life, it can be unclear what is and isn’t permitted under the current coronavirus restrictions. Luckily, we’ll run through some of the things that you may be able to do as a photographer based on the current guidelines. So, what are amateur and professional photographers allowed to do within the coronavirus restrictions?

Please note that the content in this article is not to be considered legal advice. You should always consult official government guidance.

What are the rules for amateur photographers in lockdown?

If you are an amateur photographer then it’s important to adhere to the coronavirus restrictions in your area. For many of us, photography is a therapeutic experience and a wonderful hobby to exhibit our creativity. Photography has been linked to many mental health benefits, including improving the self-esteem, wellbeing and confidence of photographers.

Current coronavirus restrictions in England state that amateur photographers and those who do not rely on photography as a form of income must not leave their home unless absolutely necessary. You are however, permitted to leave home if:

  • You are shopping for basic necessities.
  • For work, if you can’t do so from home.
  • For daily exercise.
  • To meet with either your support bubble or childcare bubble.
  • For medical treatment or assistance.
  • For education or childcare if eligible.

What are the rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

If you live in Scotland, then the official guidance is to stay at home, unless you live in a Level 3 area. You are permitted to leave your home for exercise within 5 miles of your home.

For those who live in Wales, the official advice is to stay at home and to not visit other households. Leaving your home to exercise with people that you live with or those in your support bubble is permitted, however. You can stay up to date with the government advice in Wales here.

In Northern Ireland, again you must stay at home according to government advice. Although, you are allowed to leave for outdoor exercise within 10 miles of your home.

While you aren’t able to travel specifically for photography, you are able to leave home in order to get some fresh air. Why not take your camera along with you on your daily exercise and capture some images?

In order to potentially avoid falling foul of the government guidance, it may be worth keeping your photography equipment to a minimum. Leave your tripods and lighting equipment at home and just take what you need to get some photographs of the outside world.

Photography in lockdown

When you are out taking photographs, make sure that you socially distance from other people.

What are the rules for professional photographers in lockdown?

Can I travel for work?

If you are a professional photographer then you will be allowed to leave your home and travel for work purposes. How far you are able to travel is unclear, although government COVID-19 guidance states that if you should stay local when you are travelling for work, although international travel is permitted if necessary.

If you do have a trip overseas planned because of your photography work, then you can check the government guidelines for where you’re travelling to here.

What are the rules when I’m working?

When you are working in a public space, it’s important that you stick to the coronavirus guidelines. If you are a photographer working indoors with members of the public, it is advisable to wear face coverings unless you are exempt from doing so.

You will also need to make sure that you wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing where possible while you’re working.

Photography ideas during lockdown

It's important that when you are working to follow social distancing and public health guidelines.

What can photographers do in lockdown?

These are unprecedented times that we’re living in at the moment. Our interaction with our family, friends and the general public may be restricted but there’s no reason why you can’t still practice photography.

You can always start a few photography projects or pick up some new skills from the comfort of your own home. If you have access to outdoor space where there are relatively few people, you might also want to brush up on your landscape photography while you’re getting some fresh air.

Anything you choose to do will no doubt be a great way to keep active in a pastime that we all love. Since we’re living in such unique times, it could be interesting to document this period in our lives with your photography.

What are the best ideas for photographers in lockdown?

In terms of starting a new photography project, it can be quite difficult to think up an idea. Here’s a few ideas of what you can do amid the coronavirus restrictions.

  • Indoor photography tips – Find out how you can keep occupied with these 7 great photography projects that you can do from your own home!
  • Flower photography – Wildflowers and those you have in your own home can make for fantastic subjects. Find out how to master the art of flower photography here!
  • Still-life photography – Tell the story of your time in lockdown with still-life photography. Still-life photography can be poignant and touching. You can find out some useful still-life tips right here.
  • Pet photography – If you’re lucky enough to live with pets in these times, then you know how great their company is. Pets make for great subjects, so you can find out how to do them justice with these pet photography tips, here!
  • Wildlife photography – We’ve all probably noticed the increase in UK wildlife during lockdown. Find out how you can get the best pictures possible of the animals you can spot from your own windowsill, or as part of your daily exercise right here.
  • Food photography – There was no shortage of amateur bakers during lockdown. If you’re knocking up scrumptious dishes, then find out how to get the best possible shots for your Instagram stories right here!
  • Clean your camera – It’s more important than ever to stay hygienic and to keep things as cleanly as possible. This includes your camera equipment. You can find out how to keep your photography equipment in great condition, right here.
  • Organise your photos – It’s a job that some of us loathe, but now is the perfect time to back up your photographs and get them organised neatly. Find out how best to organise your photo library with these helpful tips.

All information correct as of 19th January, 2021.