The purpose of this page is to discuss and explain the Restrictions, with a view to the business of photography, covering location and studio shoots.

It’s my interpretation based on reading the regulations, rather than other articles not aimed at photography.

At its most basic level, the Restrictions enforce Lockdown 2 throughout England, but the situation is not the same as it was in March 2020, for Lockdown 1.

There are two key points for the professional photographer:

1. Restrictions on your client – where they can go, what they can do

2. Restrictions on you – can you open your premises? If so, for what reason?

The situation for you, the business owner, is much simpler than for your client, so let’s start there.

In order for your clients to have pictures taken, you and they need to be physically close enough to enable that. It’s important to note that this isn’t a social event, so restrictions on social gatherings (Part 3, S8-9) are not the relevant points here.

Instead, the question is simple – are you a Restricted Business (i.e. one that is forced to close) and if not, is your client allowed to leave their home to have your services?

Is Photography a Restricted Business?

The answer for this is Regulation 16:

• P1 states – “A person responsible for carrying on a restricted business, or providing a restricted service, must cease to carry on that business or provide that service.”

• P2-3 are not relevant

• P4 states – “In this regulation ‘restricted business’ and ‘restricted service’ means a business or service which (a) is of a kind specified in Part 2 of the Schedule, or (b) is carried on from, or provided at, premises of a kind specified in Part 2 of the Schedule."

So… Part 2 of the Schedule is Other Businesses (which Must Close). Photography, be it studio or location, is not mentioned at all in Part 2. Photography is not a Restricted Business.

Thus, Photographers are not obliged to close due to Lockdown 2. We’re also allowed out for work purposes – Restriction 6 establishes that exception with its paragraph 4 and 4a –

“Exception 2 is that it is reasonably necessary for P [the person in question!] to leave or be outside P’s home – (a) for the purposes of work, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for P to work, or provide these services, from home;”

Is your client allowed to leave their home to have your services?

Regulation 5 covers this one clearly.

It states: Regulation 5, P1 – “No person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.”

Oh. But hang on… Regulation 5, P2 – “For the purposes of paragraph (1) – (a) the circumstances in which a person has a reasonable excuse include where one of the exceptions in regulation 6 applies …”

So, let’s have a look through the exceptions. There are a lot, so I’m focusing on things which might be relevant.

Photography is not in the list of businesses of Part 3 of the Schedule, which means our services by themselves are not reasonable excuse.

However, paragraph (2c) permits people “to take exercise outside – (i) alone, (ii) with – (aa) one or more members of their household, their linked household [aka bubble!] … (iii) in a public outdoor place, with one other person who is not a member of their household, their linked household or their linked childcare household.”

Paragraph (2d) permits people to be outside for recreation, with similar wording – i.e. public outdoor place, household only, or one other person.

Thus, your clients can be outside for exercise or recreation in a public space. You may be outside for work (or again for exercise!). The regulations, at no point, make reference to the capture of images relating to such recreation.


• NO, your client may not travel to you in order to receive your services

• YES, your client may travel to outside, public spaces

• YES, so may you, for both work and personal purposes

• THEREFORE, you can photograph outside – it is not prohibited.

The summary is therefore – you may stay open, and services to consumers must be location only, in order to comply. And social distancing is needed… but we’re sensible – we don’t need telling about that!

What about Business Photography? I.e. Photography where the client is a business?

Short answer – carry on as normal.

Work gatherings are exempt by instruction of Regulation 11, P3a, which states:

“Exception 2 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary – (a) for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services;”

Thus, if you are meeting someone for business photography, this is necessary and thus allowed, both for you and your client.


If your client is a private individual or family, you can photograph them outside because both parties have exemptions enabling them to be in public spaces. You may not photograph them at your premises. You may also photograph them in their own homes, as your work exemption permits this.

If your client is a business, you may photograph them wherever is necessary.

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