How’s everyone doing?
So far, I’ve been feeling pretty lucky. It’s been nice catching up with friends online, many of whom I’d probably not have gotten around to speaking to so frequently in more normal times, ‘takes a crisis to get us together’ kind of thing. I am chilling with my kids more, dusting off the boardgames rather than rushing to start home schooling them and any attempted Indoctrination into the 9A.M. ‘New world order’ of Joe Wickes would no doubt have created a Lord of the Flies style insurgency in my own home where I’d see out this lockdown in cable ties, under the stairs. My youngest, autistic, son has been out of school since October having not quite made the jump to mainstream secondary, so whilst we waited for his specialist provision to become available, he’s inadvertently been preparing himself for this enforced social distancing like a true survivalist. He kind of digs it.
My studio styling work may have disappeared into the ether for now, but I’ve been able to carry on as normal from my art studio painting and dispatching Woodrow surfaces and also creating recipes and photography for clients from my kitchen come photo-studio.
For now, large-scale shoots with big crews are off the table. This clearly represents lots of challenges for agencies, studios, photographers, art directors and stylists used to working primarily in this way. The commercial demand for content to connect to consumers is clearly still there and it’s been really interesting to see how people in our industry have so quickly responded to the task at hand. Is it even possible somehow to keep the wheels of creative content production turning whilst we face the far more consequential severity of the current global health crisis?
With high streets closed and events cancelled, social first photography and video offer the best opportunity to reach audiences. The ever-forward thinking team at Still Moving Media observed in a recent post, that the way people are consuming content has already changed. We’re no longer hopping on and off tubes and dashing to meetings and the way we engage with content reflects that. Snackable five-second videos are from a different time now. People are watching hour-long Instagram live beauty tutorials, streaming yoga classes and cooking along in real time. It’s our job to find ways to keep creating the kind of content that people want.
Our feeds are inundated with text-heavy information. Inspirational imagery and videos are a welcome relief. True to the nature of the wonderful industry I’m so lucky to work in; you creative types have been quick to adjust. I’ve been so heartened to still be receiving orders this past week from marketing managers and social media influencers for my photography backgrounds, its now become my primary source of income for my family and I had no idea if my production schedule was going to fall off a cliff edge. Taste Made UK is still shooting fresh content, only now I’m shipping Woodrow boards to their stylists for home shoots. Meanwhile, Charles Ward photography is offering live streamed photo-shoots, which allow art directors and clients to work collaboratively whilst off set. And this is just the beginning, as this thing evolves so will consumer demand and therefore the services we as a creative community provide.
Charlie Ward at Charles Ward Photography is already looking at setting up a web cam system in his Northamptonshire studios allowing clients and art directors to preview and comment remotely.
Adapting to this new way of life is perhaps daunting but it’s also inspiring. I’ve had interest in my pieces as standalone art but never pursued as my food styling work has always come first. So, I’m going to take this time as an opportunity to explore this and see if I can’t brighten up a few people’s homes in the process.
For me, amongst all the fear and uncertainty I feel an enhanced sense of the connection in our creative community, much like my long overdue “House Party” catch ups with friends, I’ve been able to have so many chats with industry people recently that to be honest probably wouldn’t have happened to the same extent. People I’ve worked with, customers and virtual Insta friends, there’s a lovely sense of empathy and also, dare I say it, optimism to facing the road ahead
We’re #AllInThisTogether and supporting each other professionally is just another part of the challenge. I’m going to be doing all I can to help support our customers and our clients to adapt to the ’new normal’. If you need help to create content, whether it’s commissioning new backgrounds or even briefing shoots at my home studio, please give me a call and let’s find ways to support each other!