Guidelines Written by { John Russo & Rose Cefalu

Interview by { Hudson Graham 


John Russo

Q:  How did this concept come about?

A:  I can’t just sit at home and wait for things to happen, it’s just not who I am. I called my friend Rose and said we have to do something.  Collectively we came up with creating guidelines to get us all back to work. We are in a new age of reality for our industry, therefore, we must adapt to the times. By establishing a standard safety practice on photo shoots we can make everyone feel more comfortable jumping back into our careers. We want clients, celebrities, publicists and entire productions on board while being conscious and respective of each others space. This will allow for everyone to feel comfortable on set without worry. The show simply must go on.


Q: Do you think this is going to be a temporary rule book?

A: I mean none of us ever saw this coming so we don’t know what the future holds. I would say this is our new norm moving forward. When there is a cure for this virus the guidelines may relax a bit, but I feel like people will want to stay safe. The guidelines also help keep us safe from other airborne viruses as well; cold & flu.


Q: When do you think productions will resume?

A: I would hope in the next few weeks. If everyone adheres to the guidelines and respects each others space, we can start trying to produce shoots. I think it’s a baptism by fire situation, we need to start somewhere.


Q: You and your crew are constantly working on productions around the world. Will you be more leery to take international assignments?

A: Although I can not wait to get back to work, I would never put myself or my crew is a dangerous situation. I would make sure my team is diligent about following  the guidelines that we created. We would make sure any international crew we are working with has the information prior and has implemented our practices on set. Thankfully my crew is amazing and super respectful of themselves and others. I look forward to my next assignment.


Q: Do you think the guidelines will slow up productions?

A: Not at all, in fact they will make productions much faster. People will want to get in, do their job and go home.


Rose Cefalu

Q: How has the current situation affected your career?

A: Everything has stopped. The magazine I work for needs constant content to flourish and buying in shoots is typically not what we do. Of course we are adapting, but ultimately we want to resume creating fresh new material.


Q: Why did you decide to team up with John and create these guidelines for the industry?

A:  I have worked with John for many years and we are close friends, like myself John cares about the industry and wants to see everyone back at work.


Q: How will you handle people on set who refuse to adhere to the guidelines?

A: Honestly the guidelines are for their protection as well as everyone else on set. I would ask them to comply or leave set. The last thing I would want is to jeopardize the health and well being of my crew.


Q: What happens if particular artist has a problem with a guideline that is geared toward them? Say a Makeup artist doesn’t like what you propose.

A: We are doing this to help everyone, not just ourselves. John and I want to see everyone back at work. By all means if you are not happy with something speak up and lets discuss it. Remember we are all in this together.


Q: How will you handle productions outside of LA. Lets say a NYC production.

A:  I will approach them with the same level caution. I will instruct crew members on how we handle our productions and what is expected of them. Regardless of where we shoot these guideline will be mandatory.


Comprehensive guidelines and resources for photography production in Los Angeles/New York in the age of Covid 19.

Rulebook of Photoshoot Guidelines.

We gathered information from the top photographers, publicists, hair, makeup, styling, photo producers and photo directors. This information is all their opinions on how we, the industries professionals see our photo shoots moving forward.

* A maximum number of people allowed on set, 6 people per shoot. If more people need to be there, they will be in another room with an iPad and headset.

* Everyone must observe social distancing.

* Shoots will take place in large sound stages or extra-large studio spaces with access to fresh air. Proper ventilation will determine if the location is suitable for a shoot. As much as possible outdoor locations will be used.

* For interior shoots, only the photographer and talent in the space. All of the crew will be outside of the location.

*Recommend a checklist for photographer’s equipment on who will be handling each piece of equipment. All equipment will be wiped down before and after set with with the disinfecting cleaning solution.

*There will be no catering unless there are individual box meals or pre-packages meals.

* Staggered arrivals on set. Max capacity set at 6 with 6 feet distance at all times.

* There will be no touch ups on set. Glam teams will be in their designated rooms with an iPad and can instruct the photographer of a problem.

* Any individual with fever, cough or sneeze will be asked to leave immediately.

* Each shoot is unique so we need to apply our common sense to each situation.


Individual Responsibilities:


*Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.

*No more handshakes, hugs or kissing as a greeting.

*Clean your workspace around you.

*Be considerate of others and keep your distance.



*Face mask required.

*Gloves required.

*Remain 6-10 feet from talent.

*Wear headset to be in touch with client/publicist/art director or use a walkie talkie.


Photo Assistants:

*Show up 2 hours early, pre-light each setup, wipe down all equipment with the appropriate cleaning solution. After setup, wait outside of main set, but be on earpiece for emergencies.

*Wear face masks and gloves.


Digital Technicians:

*Face & gloves required.

*Remain 6-10 feet from talent/photographer.

*Wear headset to be in touch with photographer/client.



*Face mask and gloves required.

*Remain 6-10 feet from talent/photographer.

*Will be off set with an iPad or monitor observing the shoot.

*Wear headset to be in touch with photographer, who can relay info to the talent.



*Face mask and gloves required.

*Remain 6-10 feet from talent/photographer.

*Will be off set with an iPad/monitor observing the shoot.

*Wear headset to be in touch with photographer.


Hair & Makeup:

*Face shields or masks and gloves are required for H & M artists.

*All products for makeup and hair will be new and exclusive to each talent. No reusing products.  Brushes must be sterilized after each use.


Wardrobe Stylists:

*Talent is encouraged to wear their own clothing when possible. Stylists can do a Skype call with the talent and choose the appropriate items from the talents closet.

*Or if they are not able to wear their own clothing, the stylist will pull each look for the talent and only those items will be allowed on set. Wardrobe will be sent 48 hours prior to fitting and be disinfected if coming from a showroom. All steaming, alternations will be done prior to talents arrival. There will be no on set touch-ups or alterations.


Bathroom/Holding Area:

*Ideally talent will have their own bathroom and holding area where individuals may enter on a one on one basis as long as they are observing social distancing.

*New roll of toilet paper.

*New antibacterial soap.

*New paper towels.



*On set shooting with a long lens at least 20 feet away from the talent/photographer.

*Face shields or masks and gloves are required.

*Wear headset to be in touch with the photographer/director.


Surgical Masks/Supplies:

*Whomever is producing the shoot (client, photographer/producer) will be responsible for bringing masks and plastic gloves for each crew member, as well as any cleaning supplies for equipment & common areas.   Common areas need to be wiped down hour.


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