Thanks to the pandemic, the world of work is changing – and it looks very different depending on where you’re based. In The Drum’s new series, Today’s Office, we ask individuals from adland to share what these new normal routines look like. This week, photographer Marc Hayden — whose clients include Nike, Bacardi and Virgin Media — explains why he’s been shooting for some of the world’s biggest brands from his mum’s garage.
When lockdown started, I knew I had to find a shoot space that would enable me to house lighting kit and essentially become a Covid-safe studio.
Luckily, my mum has an unused, clean garage, which is a short drive from my house. It’s certainly a change from a professional studio environment, but it has been working out fantastically.
Since late March I’ve been shooting still life here and, more recently, models. As things creep back to normal I’ve been able to travel again, but I’m still going to keep this space running.
My current set-up is a sea of cables, lights and camera gear. Thankfully, my editing is done by third-party retouchers, which is a blessing since there are no windows in the garage.
Working out of the garage, my day-to-day routine hasn’t changed that much. It is pretty similar to how it was pre-Covid.
My journey to work is now much shorter, so I can’t say I miss all the commuting. Because I’m freelance, my days vary wildly from meetings to shoot planning to actual shoots. All the pre-amble isn’t miles away from how it was before, there are just more online meetings.
The shooting itself isn’t drastically different either. Remembering to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines and regulations adds an extra element to workflow and interactions, but on the whole it hasn’t been too disruptive.
One challenge I’ve found is that the space here limits what I can shoot. I normally shoot more motion imagery for a lot for sports brands, so the gradual return to larger studios has come at a great time.
In the throes of lockdown I missed having the space to be more experimental when shooting sports. I am not necessarily in a rush to get back to ’normal’, but it will be welcome. Being able to have assistants and clients on-site is also something that helps in the commercial environment.
Saying that, in the meantime I’ve been able to focus more on product photography, which has actually been beneficial and peaceful.
Having a dedicated shoot space has allowed me to maintain the separation between work and personal time. However, I was conscious that my wife was having to do more with the kids, so I wanted to get back early and help out there where I could when lockdown was in full swing.
The initial restrictions meant I was at home more and being more hands-on with my two young children, which was both amazing and exhausting.
I’d say I have adapted really well to this setup. It took some time to get things going smoothly with regards to the running of larger shoots (like arranging hair, makeup and styling in line with restrictions) but it seems quite natural, if a tad annoying, now.
Though some have struggled to find inspiration amid the pandemic, I have always been grateful to be in a job I really enjoy and I keep remembering that.
Work is steady and slowly getting back to what it was, so there is every reason to be happy and inspired.