NZ PHOTOGRAPHERS – ADVICE DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC
The NZIPP Board have been asked to provide suggestions for best practice for New
Zealand photographers during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Information provided is from members of NZIPP, a group of photographers working in a
volunteer capacity. We are not medical, legal or financial experts, and the suggestions
provided should be used as a guideline only. We suggest referring to the compilation
documentation here which provides a number of links to sources from the Ministry of
Health, Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue and the Government. The
document is updated as information becomes available.
It is important to remember that the situation is evolving rapidly and information may
become outdated quickly. These suggestions were released on Thursday 19th March
2020 at 9am NZST.
Personal safety during sessions (in regards to COVID-19 or other illnesses):
● Create and advertise a sickness policy for your clients
● Clean areas thoroughly in between sessions
● Take minimal gear with you to sessions if possible
● Avoid personal contact with clients where possible, including hand shaking
● Wash hands regularly with soap and water and have washing facilities available
in the studio for sessions
● Use and have hand sanitiser available
● Defer sessions if you, your family or your clients are unwell
● Do not use face masks unless you are unwell
● Avoid touching your face
● Clean surfaces regularly
● Cough into your elbow or a tissue
● Discard tissues to rubbish immediately
● Defer a session for 14 days if you have been overseas, or in contact with
someone who has been overseas.
A session considered to be of higher risk may be the following:
● Birth photography and “Fresh 48” sessions
● Newborn and under 1-year-old sessions
● Photography of clients who have recently arrived from overseas
● Sessions by photographers who have recently returned from overseas
● Immuno-suppressed clients and elderly
● Sessions involving large gatherings.
Photographers who have a session booked that fits into this category should carefully
consider the appropriateness of going ahead with these sessions and think about what
extra precautions they could take, should they go ahead.
Requests for cancellations: what you can do
● Refer to your contract terms and conditions. You may choose to hold your clients
to your contract and retain the deposit with a cancellation, or you may wish to
give more flexibility.
● We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of the disease, and if there is
cause for concern in going ahead with a session, leniency might be the
appropriate route. Stamping out the disease will be less painful economically for
us all in the long run but more importantly is better for our collective health and
● Consider offering your clients the opportunity to defer the deposit to another
date rather than offering a refund, if you are under no legal or contractual
obligation to hand back the money. Don’t create a moral obligation in your
mind when there is none. Remember this is about your financial wellbeing, as
well as that of your clients. After the Christchurch earthquake our photographers
found that although many events were cancelled, the majority of them went on
to happen at a later date. If you have severed the relationship by giving a full
refund, they possibly won’t remember you when they reschedule and need a
● Remember that it is OK to ask a client if they have some flexibility on the new
date if you are re-booking: they might be prepared to avoid popular dates such
as weekends, giving you more opportunity to book other jobs.
● If you are not using a contract, or don’t have clauses in your contract, NZIPP
along with AIPA and Clendons Law have developed a standard set of terms and
conditions which can be used by any New Zealand photographer. You candownload these here.
We’ve had reports of clients trying to cancel orders after these have been placed or
not go ahead with purchases. The photographer has outlayed the cost of goods to sell
to the client, and is now taking the hit personally.
Suggested measures you can take:
● Delay your own purchase of products where possible until the client has fully
committed to the purchase.
● Introduce a payment option through a third-party provider such as Laybuy,
Genoapay, Afterpay, Payright, Gilrose Finance or other providers. If using this
option, please do your research. Talk to others who have used these services,
and read the fine print to make sure the liability doesn’t fall back on you. In most
cases, this will pass the payment contract over from you. You will receive the
payment up front minus the fee, and the contract will be between the client and
the payment provider.
● There are ways to extract money from clients while looking like the ‘good guy’.
You can borrow the models of companies such as Afterpay without actually
using their services. For example you can suggest a payment plan option so that
a client can defer payment to a later date and then start paying a smaller
amount each week/ fortnight/ month. You could also tell clients that (unlike
those companies) you won’t charge establishment fees or interest for this plan.
They still get their product, but you are offering them something extra. And even
small weekly payments add up, especially if you have several clients using this
payment plan option.
We need to support each other, our suppliers, our local small businesses. While you may
see a downturn in business at the moment, use this opportunity to connect with your
local suppliers and other businesses to formulate a marketing plan, a referral system, or
a collective advertising program.
Another way we can support local is to consider how our own decisions can affect
others in our industry. For example, someone in a position to offer concerned clients full
refunds might consider doing this on a one-to-one basis rather than advertising it
publicly, which could create difficult client expectations for photographers who are not
in a financial position to be able to do the same.
Registering to assist other photographers:
NZIPP have set up spreadsheets for areas in New Zealand, where photographers can
register to assist one another if needed. Feel free to add your name into any list for an
area you might be able to cover, and refer back to these lists if you need help.
Bay of Plenty Members
Palmerston North/ New Plymouth Members
Napier/ Hawkes Bay Members
Central Otago Members
Coastal Otago Members