Almost six months on we have been back to the photo agencies who participated in our COVID-19: How’s the photo agency doing? feature to ask How are they doing NOW?
Daryl Bradford at Camera Press reports
I hope you and the family are well. How can it be 5 months since the last article?
We have continued to offer a full time service, retained all our staff and managed to keep the momentum going whilst working remotely. I have been going into the office more regularly of late and a few of the staff have been in occasion. We were particularly busy over the summer in fact, recording one of our best UK sales months in July. The increase in sales was due partly to the lack of new shoots and the clients desire to look at something that wasn’t COVID related. We have found TV stars particularly in demand, film stars less so, unsurprising given the closure of cinemas and lack of new releases. Sales from our overseas agents however have generally been a fair bit lower.
Our main focus has still been editorial but we have made some good commercial placements both in the UK and overseas. These have included celebrity book covers; a lot of stars seem to have been using lockdown to write their memoirs!, a series of record and CD covers and various TV projects. August saw the Princess Royal turn 70, where we were able to offer an exclusive new set by John Swannell and the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, both of which resulted in our images being used on covers and generally in the press. Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussein was popular in August too, and with Julian Assange’s wife Stella doing interviews at the end of the month our portraits of her and Assange were in demand, appearing on the cover on the Sunday Times mag and in Paris Match, amongst other publications.
Most of our portrait photographers have started working again, some who shoot mainly outdoors, from as early as the start of June, but probably few are as busy as they were prior to the pandemic. Some sitters are still reluctant to do shoots and as things ramp up again this will continue to be an issue. Celebrity event and music photography have all but ceased in the UK, although BAFTA, who we work with, managed a virtual awards ceremony with some attendees and a fuller actors portrait project is ongoing.
How are things going to work out in the coming months is more difficult to predict, particularly in light of Boris’ announcement yesterday. We were considering a phased return to the office, though had made no concrete plans. In general terms I have been surprised and pleased how the working from home has turned out. We have daily Zoom calls and all the staff are in close contact, but the idea of doing the same for another 6 months during the winter period is not particularly appealing to anyone. We will keep our heads down, continue to offer our clients, photographers and agents the service they have come to expect and hopefully look forward to happier times come the spring.
Below a few scans of recent usages: