UW Brand

Photo and Video during Covid

Life on campus looks a bit different right now. Much of our existing photography and video assets feature groups of unmasked people working and socializing in close proximity. How do we tell visual stories that model best practices during the pandemic, while still reflecting the spirit and community of our university?

State guidelines for photo and video

The state has special requirements for photography and video production that allow businesses, like ours, to continue to utilize these valuable communication resources. Some unique exceptions for photo and video production include allowing for groups larger than 5 people on-set and allowing on-camera talent to appear without a mask if all other safety protocols are followed. All UW productions must follow current state guidelines. Guidelines may change as the state deems necessary. Check the governor’s website for the latest information.

Safe and spirited tips for engaging images

When shooting new photos and video, empty campuses and socially distant subjects don’t have to feel cold and foreboding. Here are some spirited ideas to safely capture scene while following proper protocols.

It’s all about the smize.

An audience still recognizes a smile or a laugh, even with a mask on. Capture subjects in moments of joy and happiness, even behind the mask.

Bring life to an empty campus.

Long exposures and time lapse videos can create the feeling of activity and motion, even in sparsely populated areas.

Shrink your six feet.

It’s hard to photograph two people side-by-side with six feet of empty space between. Staggering subjects six feet behind each other allows you to avoid a big visual gap in your frame, while maintaining a safe distance between subjects.

Get together, while far apart.

Photos placed side-by-side in layout, Zoom-style, can connect the subjects emotionally, even if the photos are distinct.

Surround with sound.

Sound can suggest a dynamic world just outside of the frame. In edited video, it may be helpful to add subtle ambient sound like birds, traffic and distant activity to fill out quiet spaces.

Using existing photo and video assets

Photos or video used for marketing purposes should ideally portray subjects following the state requirements that are appropriate at the time of publication, regardless of when the photo or video was taken. For example, we don’t want to portray the quad full of unmasked visitors in our photos, while at the same time discouraging large crowds from gathering to view the cherry blossoms. However, this doesn’t mean that all pre-COVID images are off-limits.

Marketing and communications photos or videos which do not portray subjects following state requirements appropriate at the time of publication can be used:

…if the photo/video was taken prior to COVID-19 requirements and the shoot date is added in text/caption with the image.

Example: Photo date 03/10/19

…if the photo/video, no matter when it was taken, reflects the requirements of the time and is accompanied by a clarifying text or caption. This is helpful when the photo may portray a scene where it’s not immediately obvious that requirements are being observed.

Example: “This photo was taken following appropriate protocols.” or “This photo was taken safely.”

For pieces containing multiple images, descriptive text can be used once to address all of the images.

Example: “All photos were taken following appropriate protocols at the time.”