Getting the chance to work on my first remote shoot since working at Superhuman was simultaneously exciting and scary, and I felt both deeply ready and underqualified. And that was without the overlay of COVID-19 threatening to squeak between our masks.
I know that I am a deeply privileged hermit. I work from home most days, in a cozy stupor of sweatpants and cats trying to jump on my laptop. Plus, my parents are about 2,000 miles away, so I really have had no excuse to see other people too closely.
In the back of my mind, I know that this will end some time, and our production needs have to acknowledge that in the near future, consumers will want to see images that match their less restricted realties. 61%, of consumers are “ready to go” with returning to normal, pre-pandemic behavior, and I’m not 100% sure that includes me. But I work in advertising, so I at least have to consider those who are ready, whatever they mean by “normal.”
Leaving my bubble for a top-secret client facility felt both weird and appropriate on that rainy March day. One of the first rainy days of the season, I knew something in the air was different, even if it just meant the thawing of the winter snow. Or breathing the air from outside your duplex feels fresh no matter what.
Maybe most shoot sites aren’t like this, but this client facility had a deeply set safety protocol. I logged into a portal from my phone, and confirmed that I was not experiencing COVID symptoms. If someone in that building contracts COVID, I should get a notification any day now telling me to isolate and get tested.
After checking in, I worked with Leslie Plesser from Shuttersmack, our photographer, to finalize the shot list and coordinate where I needed to be to give her ample space to shoot, but not be in the actual frame of shot. (Except when she needed me to be a hand model.) For the next four hours we played with products, figured out the best way to show realistic interactions with tech in an artificial space, and worked with our generous and knowledgeable client to make sure we got every shot needed.
My worst fear was having to return to get more shots or set-ups that we missed—less so because of COVID, but more so because it took the help of so many people to make this client facility a great space for shooting. Being a fear-based person has its benefits, including the realization that this shoot wasn’t as scary as it could’ve been, and that at least half of my anxieties came from the newness, not from the climbing upward trends of COVID.
In some ways, I really hope this isn’t my last COVID shoot, because I don’t want to jinx things and I do really love shoots. I will happily pop on my pouch N95 for a few hours if that means having beautiful, collaborative and meaningful custom assets. Plus, I’ll take any excuse to build up my hand modeling resume. 💅