Fashion and Beauty


Before the much-recent government mandate to revert to stricter quarantine measures, in response to the rallying cry waged by health experts on the alarming and continuing rise of positive COVID-19 cases, we talked to some of the top photographers on how they navigate work in today’s new normal.

/ 3 August 2020

If you’re a photographer or aspiring to be one, you should know that a lot of interactions happen during a shoot. But with the recent turn of events and how the situation has given the industry of fashion an unprecedented shift, in setting up equipment and location, coordinating with the producers and models, and providing instructions⁠—here’s a new golden rule for all: PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING.

Clicking into the new normal means a lot of adjustment especially for creatives. It’s easy for some to say that a photographer only works behind a camera but news flash, the work doesn’t end there. Generally, a producer handles all the logistics of a shoot from food to location and sometimes with equipment. But as a hands-on photographer, some would rather directly adjust every equipment to place everything in the right places. And then of course, there’s also the interaction between the producers on certain requirements and with instructing models. Basically, these are just the usual scenarios of a shoot and then there’s the COVID-19.

Working in the new normal includes new sets of standards on safety and health. Starting with the common sanitary practices like hand washing and disinfecting equipment then the proper outfit including masks, face guards, and PPEs, there’s really an added layer of responsibility needed.

Photography is a work of passion and the virus has been quite a burden during the past months. Since it seems like Ms. Rona is not going away any time soon, we talked to some of the top photographers in Manila on how they’re doing their shoots now in the new normal.

Ed Enclona, The Colorblind Creative

Considering all these kinds of events, my new normal remains hopeful. Yes, we have these kinds of problems but we need to individually move forward.

As a creative, I can’t contain myself any longer. I need to be productive. I’m hopeful that we will not remain like this. We can adjust and we will live in this new normal with high hopes. So far, I’m still in the pre-production part of most of my projects but we make sure that they abide by the guidelines from the IATF.

I set personal guidelines as well to myself in order to keep myself and everyone around me safe. To keep myself physically well, I stay healthy by taking vitamins and healthy food. I always sanitize my photography equipment with alcohol. I also make sure I have my PPEs, alcohol and soap with me but I don’t recommend using alcohol frequently because it will make your hands dry. If there are options like 70% alcohol with aloe vera to keep your hands moist that would be great. I also keep checking if my mask is protecting me and then I also put a layer of filter on it.

For my equipment, I use Lysol for disinfecting the bags and non-electronic stuff. I use my microfiber wipes and 70% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning it in detail. I always keep my stuff with a silica gel so the excess moisture will not damage my equipment.

Karlo Torio of Studio Torio

In the beginning of the lockdown, I had difficulties understanding and squeezing in to the new normal and with new guidelines in my routine. It was challenging but it does get easier each day. It’s like adding a different and unfamiliar spice to your favorite burger meal just like when you get your first bite, it’s either you swallow or spit the taste out of your mouth. It’s a process to take it in yourself because none of us asked for this new normal.

I remember I stumbled upon Virgil Abloh’s post on Instagram on how to adapt to a new environment. He gave a very short “creative guideline” about how humanity needs our ideas most.

As a fellow creative like him, it gave me motivation to process and handle my thoughts and my emotions to this new work perspective. My personal takeaway is that you have to teach yourself to adapt to new environments and guidelines in your routine. Whether it would make you feel zero or one hundred, you have to brace yourself on what’s coming. Always remember to be kind, be wiser, be teachable, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Also, respect yourself with the work you do during these difficult times cause I’m sure that most of us are trying to keep a head above water to survive this chaos. It took me three months before I got booked for a couple of shoots and then I shifted to putting up a humble home business with my partner and my mom.

So, at the end of the day, it’s really up to your energy on how you digest this new normal.

Migs Alomajan, Fashion and Runway Photographer

For Migs who works with a lot of fashion shoots, he keeps his work neat and clean all while wearing the right equipment at all costs. At its core, Migs believes in the utmost importance of physical distancing, highlighted by the idea of limiting the number of personnel joining the shoot with key decision makers only, not more than 10 persons.

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For him, a standardized list of rules to follow are itemized in the guidelines below: