- Sarah Wight Sayeed is a New York City photographer specializing in lifestyle portrait and wedding photography.
- During the lockdown, she’s been photographing couples over FaceTime to keep business and her passion alive.
- Couples set up their phones and the author directs them over FaceTime.
- Sayeed edits the photos within 48 hours; although the pictures taken over the call may be grainy, everyone has said the experience is fun and worth it.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The past couple months have been quite the change for me.
As a commercial and wedding photographer, I’ve always had to travel somewhere for a photo shoot, whether it’s a studio or an outdoor location. March is when my busy season starts to ramp up, and I had lots of shoots on the calendar.
But then all of NYC was directed to stay home — and all of my jobs were cancelled or postponed indefinitely. It was a little financially terrifying, since I wasn’t going to be able to earn income for the foreseeable future. I wasn’t going to be able to take on any of my scheduled client sessions, and I was heartbroken for all my soon-to-be-married couples who had to postpone their wedding and engagement photos.
At first, I busied myself with all the business projects I don’t usually have time for during the busy shooting season — upgrading my website and optimizing my workflows, learning new marketing skills and social media strategies, reorganizing files, etc etc …
But none of those things are driving any income or really doing anything for my current clients, and, as NYC kept extending the “Pause” program, I began to feel anxious that I still had no money coming in. Beyond that, I felt isolated from the clients I love to serve, and was looking for meaningful ways to support them during what was a trying time for them as well.
I saw other photographers starting to do remote photoshoots over FaceTime, and I was blown away at the resourcefulness. This was the perfect way to keep creating and serving my clients! I took a mini tutorial from a colleague, Tia Nash, and I immediately asked my sister and her husband if I could practice with them. While they were super skeptical at first, by the end of the session, they were gushing about how much fun they had.
These remote photoshoots are a super unique way to spend some quality time together, to break up the monotony of Netflix and closet reorganization. Every session is full of chaos and laughs, devising clever ways to prop up iPhones and fur babies photobombing at the absolute best times. The photos we create together are grainy and low-resolution — no one’s going to be framing these anytime soon — but they are genuine, in-the-moment photos to remember that crazy time when we were all stuck at home together for months.
I love how challenges like this can force us to flex our creativity in a new way. It’s a thrill to be miles away from my subjects and yet capture such intimate, genuine photos through FaceTime — a tool I’d never thought I’d be using as a professional photographer!