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Behind the Scenes: Holding a COVID-Safe Photoshoot

Killer have been working with Samaritans for many years now and together we created their smash-hit virtual fundraising event, ‘Samarathon’. Despite being in the grips of a national pandemic, Samarathon far exceeded targets in 2020, increasing sign-ups and raising over half a million pounds. Now going into its third year, the charity was keen to continue developing and growing the product, including producing bespoke images for the marketing creative to help the campaign remain fresh, reach new participants and stand out in a crowded market – cue photoshoot time! 

We first started planning a photoshoot in late 2020, intending for it to take place in early 2021. What we didn’t know at that time was that we were imminently going into yet another national lockdown – not what we were hoping for! But at Killer, we don’t shy away from a challenge, and we were determined to make a shoot work whilst still complying with social distancing guidelines and lockdown restrictions. After rescheduling several times due to bad weather, we finally managed to successfully do an outdoor photoshoot on a smaller scale.


“In the run-up to the event, it was tricky to plan for a photoshoot on a sunny day in February and we had to reschedule several times. We were so lucky that despite covid restrictions the sun was out, which put a smile on everyone’s face! The day ran smoothly and it was a joy to manage.  It was also lovely to be able to work with the clients face to face after a year of online calls!” Nicki, Project Manager at Killer

We overcame the restrictions in place by having only key members on set, models doing their own hair and makeup and ensuring everyone kept at least two meters apart.  With the use of clever camera trickery, we were able to also get images featuring more than one model, in the hope that people would be able to meet up with another person for exercise again soon. We also had to shoot the images in a very particular way, as the event takes place in July and we needed the photos to look like it was summertime. This required smart use of light and filtering to give them a really light and bright look.

“After 2 years of relying on stock imagery, we wanted to branch out and give Samaritans a range of photography for ‘Samarathon’ that they could really call their own. We initially started discussions around a much bigger photoshoot but it soon became clear this wasn’t going to be possible with the pandemic. We then worked with our creative team, the photographer and the team at Samaritans to collate a plan for a small-scale photoshoot that would adhere to the COVID restrictions in place at the time. I am pleased to say the day was a real success; we were quick to adapt to the situation and manipulated the original plans, whilst still keeping the core aim in mind!” Louisa, Account Director at Killer

“Killer made our Samarathon photoshoot really fun and easy even though there were covid restrictions in place. Even with social distancing, they still managed to get all the shots we needed in the time frame. The team are also lovely, and couldn’t have been more helpful.” Bertie Teague, Production and Brand Officer at Samaritans

Why invest in a photoshoot?

It may seem like an easier option to use stock photos for your creative campaigns, but there are many reasons why getting professional images produced is the better choice:

– You have the ability to control every aspect of the photoshoot and tailor the images exactly how you want them, giving you more imagery to choose from that include your charity’s branding and relate specifically to your product

– It actually ends up being much better value than buying lots of stock images year after year

– It means you have bespoke imagery that is unique the campaign, the charity – and you know no one else is using the same ones!

– The value goes beyond the initial marketing creative – you can also get lots of stewardship images that you can use during the supporter journey

– They can be added to the charity photo library and be used year on year by teams across the organisation

The recruitment campaign goes live this week and we’re loving the new creative featuring fantastic shots from the shoot, so keep an eye out for those! If you’d like to talk to us about photoshoot options, creative development work, or anything else we can help you with email