We spoke to Elliot Wagland, Picture Editor at London Evening Standard to fully understand the impact that lockdown and social distancing measures are having on the photography industry, and how national picture editors have had to adapt to source engaging and newsworthy imagery.
What types of pictures have you been receiving during lockdown?
With the current lack of live entertainment and sporting events the majority of the images we’re receiving are all Covid-19 related from all over the world. Freelancers and photo agencies are having to quickly adapt in the current climate and over 90% of the images we see are virus related, whether it’s news, sport or a celebrity photo.
Are you receiving fewer pictures?
We still receive over 30,000 pictures in a 24 hour period but that’s down dramatically on a normal day where we’d likely see anything from 50,000 to 100,000 pictures depending on the time of year and entertainment/sporting events taking place. In terms of pictures from PR agencies pitching stories this has probably decreased by 75% for obvious reasons.
Are you relying on members of the public / social media more for imagery?
Social media is more important than ever at this time simply because celebrities are posting more often. In the current climate and with virtually no live events taking place, these images are a luxury that we didn’t have fifteen years ago. They give newspapers and online added content while the majority of stars are based at home. If there were to be a major live news event taking place, camera phone photos from members of the public would still be an integral part of the on-going coverage.
What kinds of pictures do you look to put in the paper now? Has it changed due to Covid-19?
Picture content has not really changed in the Evening Standard, clearly we’re more coronavirus driven as are all the papers and websites. We still need a mix of home and foreign news, we’re still covering entertainment stories and images, The Londoner, our diary page still needs to be filled every day and all other sections of the paper are there, albeit just smaller in size.
What kinds of PR pictures are you getting now?
The majority of PR photos are on hold it seems for now, we’re mainly pitched stories based on stats and polls. It appears that there are very few live photo calls or picture opportunities taking place during this time.