Your Next Piece of Gear in the Time of COVID

Your Next Piece of Gear in the Time of COVID

Gear is a central piece of a photographer's day-to-day. Certainly, gear articles make up a large portion of what we write about here on Fstoppers. What if your next piece of gear was really important, like life or death important? 

As things start to open back up, it's just a matter of time before wedding photographers are back at it. Today's weddings are as much social events as they are ceremonial. You can't really throw a typical wedding these days and stay physically distant. So, in the time between a complete return to normal and this new normal that we're living in, photographers are going to need to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID.

Wedding days are a very busy time for wedding photographers. There is a lot of pressure and a lot of moving around. So, what kind of mask can you wear that will both perform its community protection function and be comfortable?

As with any piece of gear, there are a lot of choices. There's going to be a lot of trial and error. Thanks to Jennifer and Steven Van Elk, some of the guesswork can be taken out of the equation.

If you’re a photographer who has to work or is choosing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, then you’ve probably been looking for a good mask.

The Van Elks tried out the following masks:

  • 3M 8210 Disposable Particulate Respirator
  • Ligart Cooling Neck Gaiter
  • Novelty Schitt’s Creek Themed Mask
  • Retro Floral Pattern Face Mask
  • Cotton Face Mask
  • Cloth Bandana
  • Disposable 3-Ply Face Mask

The Van Elks finally decided that the 3-ply mask worked the best for them. Check out their article to see how they ranked each mask in terms of comfort, temperature, voice volume, environmental friendliness, and how the masks could be incorporated into a day of shooting weddings.

My biggest concerns on actual wedding days are getting the shots I need, looking and sounding professional, staying safe, staying cool, and being able to move quickly. So, I wanted masks that looked good and didn’t inhibit my shooting.

3-ply mask. The winner. Steven Van Elk.

Beyond their evaluation, the Van Elks also provide a few tips for shooting weddings while wearing masks — the new normal, at least for the time being.

  • Bring multiple masks so you can switch them out when one gets hot, wet, smelly, or uncomfortable.
  • Take breaks to get away from people so you can take the mask off for a few moments to take a break from your mask.
  • Keep your breath fresh so your mask doesn’t start to smell like whatever you ate last.

A good mask, like a good tie or pocket square, can add a little pizazz to the way you look, so find something that makes you look and feel good.

Do you have a mask that you've incorporated into your photography? Any tips on wearing one?

Images used with the permission of Van Elk & Co.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Mark is a Toronto based commercial photographer and world traveller who gave up the glamorous life of big law to take pictures for a living.

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Definitely an important piece of gear! Makes a haircut a more safe / less stressful experience. I think it reassures wedding guests (particularly the elderly) that you're doing everything you can to operate safely. (props to the Schitt's Creek mask, btw)

I understand that the WHO, CDC and the US Surgeon General will now be doing camera and lens reviews.

They will determine if the lenses are capable of taking viral images ? ;)