Cleaning photography studios, props and outfits has always been important. However, with COVID-19, it’s vital that we take extra precautions. Kelly Brown has created a cleaning checklist for her photography studio, which she shares with you here.
Now that we’re starting to welcome new and returning clients back into our studios as the COVID-19 restrictions start to ease in different parts of the world, there are certain things we can and should be doing to reduce our chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 and other viruses.
But before I get into it, please know that all information provided here is based on the current restrictions and guidelines from my local government in Queensland, Australia. I’ve also taken advice from my local Health Authority, and Safe Work Australia, as of 3rd June, 2020.
RESPONSIBILITIES AS A BUSINESS OWNER
As a business owner we are responsible for health and safety in the workplace. We must meet the requirements set out in the acts and regulations for our state or territory. If we don’t we may face penalties.
- Acts give a general overview of how to make workplaces safe and healthy. They outline your legal responsibilities and duties as a business owner and employee.
- Regulations set out the standards you need to meet for specific hazards and risks. They also set out the licenses you need for specific activities, the records you need to keep, and the reports you need to make.
There are Regulating agencies that are responsible for inspecting workplaces, providing advice and help, and handing out notices and penalties if necessary.
Read more about Responsibilities as a Business Owner here.
WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS WHEN PHOTOGRAPHING NEWBORN BABIES
When posing and photographing newborn babies we must always have their safety and comfort at the forefront of everything we do. And, we must be extra careful in safeguarding the fragile immune system of babies under 2-3 months of age, as they cannot fight viruses or bacteria.
Get my free Safety Video series here.
WHAT EXTRA PRECAUTIONS CAN YOU TAKE TO ENSURE A SAFE AND HEALTHY WORKPLACE?
- Clean your studio space thoroughly before and after each session with detergents and disinfectants.
- Allow at least 24 hours between each client session
- If you feel unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms cancel/reschedule the session
- Contact your client before the session to confirm they are well and have not been in contact with anyone that is sick. Reschedule the session if they have.
- Limit the number of people allowed in the studio at one time to immediate family members only. Refer to your local government guidelines regarding any restrictions on the number of people per area of space.
- Have all shoes removed before entering the studio. Alternatively, provide disposable shoe covers for your clients.
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with hand sanitiser or wash them with soap and water.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and others.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Make sure you and your clients follow good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands.
- Use disposable hand towels and cups.
- Remove toys, magazines and books.
CLEANING PROCEDURES AND CHECKLISTS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIOS
Creating a cleaning checklist for your studio will help you to maintain a clean and tidy space. This reduces your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 or other viruses.
All workplaces should be cleaned before and after every session. Give special attention to frequently touched surfaces. For example:
- tabletops, door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps, remote controls, posing bag, backdrop stands, clamps, stools, chairs and cupboards.
Ideally, once clean, surfaces should also be disinfected regularly. Alternatively, you may be able to do a 2-in-1 clean and disinfection by using a combined detergent and disinfectant.
You can find a list of Hospital Grade Disinfectant Cleaners here.
During sessions some surfaces and areas should be cleaned more frequently when:
- visibly soiled
- used repeatedly, and
- after any spillage.
CLEANING PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO ITEMS
You will also need to clean, wash and sanitise all other items used during your sessions. These include:
- bonnets & headbands,
- layering textures, and
These items may require different cleaning methods due to the type of material. So, you might need to consider packing away your more delicate or hard to care for bonnets, headbands or outfits, that could be damaged during cleaning.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTION
Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes:
Cleaning means physically removing germs, dirt and organic matter from surfaces with detergents.
Disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. It’s important to clean before disinfecting because organic matter and dirt can reduce the ability of disinfectants to kill germs.
A combination of cleaning and disinfection will be most effective in minimising the risk of spreading germs and viruses.
WHEN USING DISINFECTANTS…
- You must read the label and follow all manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not use different types of disinfectants together.
- Store your disinfectants safely and securely, out of direct sunlight, away from heat sources and children.
- Mix your disinfectants in well-ventilated area.
- Use PPE such as gloves and safety glasses when diluting and using disinfectants.
WHAT SHOULD I USE TO CLEAN MY STUDIO?
Use detergent and water initially, followed by disinfectant.
You can find a list of Hospital Grade Disinfectant Cleaners here .
When cleaning different textiles like backdrops, blankets, outfits, bonnets & headbands, see the cleaning instructions if provided or contact the manufacturer for advice on how to safely clean the item.
Detergents can generally be used to clean different fabrics. If more thorough cleaning is needed, use a fabric steamer.
HOW TO CLEAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIOS, PROPS AND OUTFITS
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning. Discard them after each clean.
- Thoroughly clean hard surfaces using detergent and warm water. Always clean from the cleanest surfaces to the dirtiest surfaces. This stops the transfer of germs to cleaner surfaces and allows you to physically remove and dispose of the largest possible amount of germs.
- When using a disinfectant, clean the surface first using a detergent then apply a disinfectant or use a combined detergent and disinfectant. A disinfectant will not kill germs if the surface has not been cleaned first. Apply disinfectant to surfaces using disposable paper towel or a disposable cloth. If non-disposable cloths are used, ensure they are laundered and dried before reusing.
- Allow the disinfectant to remain on the surface for the period of time required as specified by the manufacturer. If no time is specified, leave for 10 minutes.
- Empty and re-clean equipment such as buckets with a fresh water and or solution then completely dry before re-use.
- Follow the cleaning instructions from the manufacturer for each item.
- Wear gloves when washing soiled items.
- Wash soiled items separately.
- Where possible use hot water as it increases the sanitising effect.
- Use a clothes dryer on suitable fabrics to further increase sanitizing from the heat.
- Steam furs and other non-machine washable fabrics.
- Wipe canvas backdrops using detergent and water where possible.
- Use hospital grade surface spray disinfectant suitable for textiles.
Taking these extra steps will help you keep your clients and their babies safe during this time.
It is important to stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 situation. I strongly advise all photographers to check the WHO website and your local public health Authority regularly. And, your local Government will provide you with the current guidelines and restrictions on social distancing in your area.
I’ve put together an updated Studio Cleaning Checklist for my own studio. I would love to share it with you. Click to request the PDF here.