COVID-19: Read How Some Of The Best Wedding Photographers Reacted
We already created a blogpost about what you can do during the corona crisis to keep busy and to find new sources of income for photographers of all kinds of industries.
This time, we reached out to some of the top-rated wedding photographers around the world to find out what they currently do to get through this situation. They responded to the following question and shared their experiences and ideas they had during the last couple of months:
How are you dealing with the Corona situation?
Some countries banned weddings and other gatherings completely, others put strict restrictions in place and only allowed weddings to be held in small groups. What about your area?
Photography is not an industry that governments care a lot about when it comes to financial aid and support. How do you manage to stay in business? If you can’t shoot weddings what do you do instead to stay busy and earn your living? Workshops? Update your website?
We all hope that this pandemic will soon be overcome and our lives can go back to a somewhat “normal” state and we can celebrate these wonderful days again together.
Irene Abdou, USA
Covid is a tough situation for wedding photographers. Many of the wedding photographers I know have lost 85% or so of their 2020 income with most weddings being pushed to 2021. What that means is that wedding photographers will not be able to take on as much in 2021, which translates to more loss of income in 2021.
Back in 2015, I was actually diagnosed with cancer. At the time, wedding photography was about 30% of my business revenue, with the remaining 70% coming from a mix of family photography, professional headshots, newborn photography, and boudoir photography. It was tough continuing to work weddings throughout my cancer treatment, but I did it. I didn’t miss a single wedding. However, what that ordeal brought me to understand was that wedding photography was a risky business. If something happens and you miss/refund a wedding, you can never get that income back. Had 100% of my income came from weddings, I would not have made it through the year with the cancer treatment. While wedding photography was 30% of my business at the time, it was after that experience that I decided that I would never seek to work solely in weddings.
Now, in the current crisis, I look at the situation that wedding photographers face, and I know I made the right decision 5 years ago. While almost all professional photographers are suffering, despite their area of photography with even employed people saving money at record rates and with many people not yet comfortable with being photographed in-studio, we family photographers and headshot photographers don’t have it quite as bad as the photographers whose business is solely weddings. Normally, business advisors tell us to specialize, specialize, specialize. But during COVID, I think that diversification has been key.
For me, one segment of my business that has been blooming is dating portraits. I’ve been offering online dating photos since 2014, and my dating photography business has grown 7-fold since then, with most of that growth coming in the past 1.5 years. In addition, while I’ve been teaching photography for the past 10 years, COVID spurred me to launch a separate arm of the business with a separate website called “Irene’s Photo Workshops,” together with an online photography class for beginners called “The 7 Keys to Exceptional Photography.” I’m very excited about this new endeavor! COVID has also given me time to focus on the business – going through an in-depth website upgrade of the main website, adding new heirloom-quality print products including studio samples of hand-painted-paintings, designing and creating a new portrait photography client guide, and, something I’m working on at this very moment – a new headshot/branding guide. And finally, I am also about to launch a new project – “50 Over 50 and Fabulous” – to photograph 50 women over the age of 50 with a fine art exhibit at the end.
Many new things, much excitement!
Alex Bramall, UK
I also had the time to reflect upon my career so far and I now feel re-energised for the next chapter post COVID!
We also took the opportunity to re-design our web sites and add more contents, this had been long due so the opportunity to be home was nice.
Taro Ebihara, Austria
Through Covid-19 98% of my orders were almost completely cancelled. This applies to all portrait shootings from baby, family to business portraits as well as weddings and events. Most of my bridal couples have postponed until next year. Those weddings that took place this year have been largely cut back. The Austrian government has granted subsidies, but most of the individual companies get almost nothing. If i were not more broadly based, I would have to close down my business. Besides photography I organize the wedding fair and produce my own Salzburg kola drink with a business partner. This situation saves me a little bit at the moment. New business fields do not make sense, as they all have to do with lead times. It is important to keep the photographic quality high, customers will always prefer the quality.
Dominique Shaw, UK
Rocio Vega, Spain
After the main lockdown, where all my work little by little started falling apart in front of my eyes, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, as a destination wedding photographer this crisis hit me double. While others could slowly start to work locally after some time, I was not allowed to travel. Which is a big problem as most of my weddings are in different countries. I started to think about what to do next.
And I put in action a plan I had been thinking about for long time but I never had time to do…. I started to work on my own academy where i had to learn everything from scratch. I watched videos on Youtube, had online conferences and did a lot of research for the best fitting platform. And it has been an interesting learning curve. After trying my own platform, finally after 6 months I’ve decided to go back to Patreon, which seems easier and more universal.
Beside this project I started something complete new: dog photography.
I thought this can’t be too hard but then reality hit me. It was really tough because the dog is not interested in what you do so you can’t do this for hours. You need to learn to be quick and spot on. Now I offer quick sessions with max. 30 minutes.
I created an own brand for this which works pretty well. It’s called “Momenticos perrunos“.
Familyshootings in documentary style is also a big thing I did. But these days no one hires a photographer to spend a day with their family. So I created the same setting and offer quick photo sessions with max. 20 minutes. (The kids can’t concentrate longer anyway.)
During this session I also record a video.
Now my clients get a short video plus their pictures and they love it.
Hardest part was to find a booking software that people can book their time slot which is very efficient. And the system works really well! at the end of the afternoon I work the same hours as I would in a normal session, but I have worked with 6 families instead of 1, and I multiply the opportunities to upsell after the session.
The next step is to bring this service to companies to tell their story. A short video + pictures.
We will see how this turns out.
Jeffrey Wang, Australia
I’m based in Sydney (Australia), weddings are still allowed here but with quite a lot of restrictions, most couples are postponing their wedding to next year because they want a dream wedding that they can really celebrate with their family and friends, one of my clients recently canceled their wedding this year.
I’m still getting new bookings for next year, but most couples are only inquiring for some pricing ideas because there are too many uncertainties every day. With the financial support from Australian government, also the income from a few new bookings each month, I’m still surviving and getting ready for when everything gets back to normal. Now I have a lot of free time, so I’m updating my website and portfolio, are also trying some new marketing strategies. I have also started a new business with my business partner.
Yaneck Wasiek, USA
3. Luckily we were already diversified before the pandemic. We photograph families, products, and mainly headshots. Currently headshots are our main revenue source. We also started to do 360 virtual tours of business and local real estate. We also offered a few webinars and workshops.
Please visit our participants website or Instagram account and have a look at their awesome work!
What do you think? What is your experience? How did you get through these times? Tell us your story in the comments!