Just a couple weeks ago I was telling Chris that I was going to light something on fire the next time I heard the word “coronavirus”.
I was just kidding. Sort of.
Now here I am typing a whole blog around it. Unfortunately, this is something that needs to be talked about because of how it is affecting everyone. Not just China. Not just Italy. Not just the elderly and immunocompromised. Not just the airlines and cruise ships. Everyone – Which just so happens to include us photographers.
Facing cancellations, pouring over contracts, and even preparing our business for a recession have all become very real things for us. We’re in some uncharted waters here. I, myself, have been trying to figure out how to help my business while also supporting others in my industry because right now, community is extra important. By coming together (but not too close) and supporting one another through this whirlwind, we can all thrive and be successful. I’ll never claim to have all the answers, but I can point you in the direction of a few resources that will help navigate this unexpected season of your photography business.
We were just starting to awaken from our photography slumber to kick off wedding season. Now with everyone being urged to self-isolate, business has been and may continue to be a little slower than usual. For those of you who use Adobe’s Creative Cloud services, you are able to pause billing while still accessing your programs for 60 days. To do this, you simply log into your account and choose to cancel your account. Follow the prompts until it gives you the option of a 60 day free period – Your account will not be canceled! Automatic billing will resume as soon as your free period is finished!
I don’t know for certain if this is Adobe’s response to COVID-19, but I wasn’t aware of it until another photographer shared it with me and $10/month is an extra whole $20 to be saved!
This is another resource that was shared with me by another photographer. Photo Coverage is a public online database that was recently created to help photographers find each other and contract each other out since travel bans have made getting to some areas difficult or impossible. This is especially helpful for weddings and elopements that are in an area that does not have a ban on gatherings (Some states have a ban on anything over 50 people, some on anything over 10 – Please make sure you check the status of your state). There are two options on the website – One where you can offer help by inserting your information into the database for others to find you or one where you can submit your request for coverage. Other photographers will be able to see this request and be able to contact you directly.
Both of the resources listed above were shared with me by other photographers – This is why I say community is important! Being part of forums, Facebook groups, etc. will allow you to learn from others as well as get feedback for handling certain situations (where’s the Running A Photography Business During A Pandemic For Dummies when you need it?). These are the three main Facebook groups I am active in:
Let’s Just Elope!
Intimate Weddings & Elopements
Weddings & Wanderlust – Adventure Photographers
Each of these groups are private, but are easy to join nonetheless. Right now, they are buzzing with wedding photographers and brides getting support and advice from each other on how to best handle traveling, wedding plans, etc. Making your own post requires an admin’s approval, so it can take a couple of days for your post to actually show up in the group; however, the admins of each group have created different threads specifically for COVID-19 conversations and you’re free to comment as you wish there. Don’t underestimate the power of groups!
I wish I had more to give you guys right now, especially the brides that have been dreaming of their wedding day and are now having to postpone, cancel, and make other changes – It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. This post came together on a bit of a whim though (I actually had something entirely different planned), but I’m glad it did because it is vital that we help each other navigate this craziness. I am 1000% here with and for you all – Photographers, brides, wedding vendors, and other small businesses alike! If you know anymore helpful resources, be kind and leave them in the comments for others to see!
If you’re a bride or know a bride who is hanging onto her sanity by a thread (because wedding planning is enough, but wedding planning during a pandemic? Someone pass the champs!), this article from Brides was a great read on how to handle the different aspects of wedding planning during this time depending on which stage of planning you’re in.
Last, but most certainly not least, to all of my fellow photographers – Please be extra self-aware about how you’re feeling right now and who you’re around. I don’t want you to be anxious and constantly looking over your shoulder at the sound of every sniffle, but if you’re not feeling 100% then stay comfy at home. I understand you have a business to run and many of you have families to provide for, but it is part of your social responsibility as a business owner to help keep your community safe. Running yourself down physically and potentially putting others at risk is not worth any profit.
I love you all!