Expert Roundup: Tips for Photographers to Survive the Covid-19 Calamity
The COVID 19 crisis is putting the photography industry into a standstill.
With no projects, no clients, and no definite end to the pandemic yet, keeping your photography business running can be extremely challenging.
To help you with your photography business during this time of crisis, we reached out to several professional photographers.
We asked about their tips on how photographers can navigate through the COVID-19 crisis and they were kind enough to share.
Here’s what they had to say.
1. Robert Edwards, Owner of Robert Edwards Photographer
“Stay in contact with clients by phone and email. Check how they are coping and if there is anything you can do to help.
Brush up on your skills or learn new ones with online training. Don’t forget to continue making images and practise your craft.
Your accountant should recommend all the government entitlements available to you. This includes federal, state and local governments as well as your bank. It’s important to stay afloat until business picks up again, which it will!”
2. Corina Patriche, Owner of Corina Patriche Photography
“In my opinion, all photographers have a huge advantage because they already have the skills and the equipment to pivot and offer a service that is now in high demand and that is product photography.
Now more than ever the companies are selling their products online and they all need pictures for their website, social media, Amazon, Etsy, eBay etc.
Switching to product photography would be a good way to help photography businesses until we go back to ‘normal’”.
On how photographers can secure more clients, here’s what Corina shared:
“First, the photographers have to think of some brands they believe in or some specific product they would like to photograph. Then go on the prospective clients’ website and get an email address or a social media account.
If there is no address for the Creative Manager or the Marketing Department then they can just send an email to the general email address presenting themselves and asking for the contact information of the person who is hiring photographers for the company.
Once they get the email address of the person they need to speak with, they can contact them, presenting their services and also their portfolio.
Sometimes it takes a while until the photographers will get a response back from the companies. They should follow in a month or so if they don’t hear back from them.
The more emails they send out, the better.”
3. Siddharth Krishnamachari, Owner of Siddk.com
“My suggestion to cope with the present crisis would be to keep practising and honing your skills at your homes while also being in touch with your client market through E-Mails and social media.
Focus on the e-commerce sector as photography would boost as soon as restrictions/lockdown gets over.
Physical interactions will become much less at least for the next year or so. People will be purchasing and buying through e-commerce portals where interactions are with photos and content.
Better and professional photos will certainly reflect on product sales and the photographers should be ready for it with the skills. They could even take up e-learning in this lull period to sharpen areas that are not their strong point.
So my advice would be to weather the storm and get back stronger as the market is waiting. Learn now and execute when the time is right.
To make money right now, you will have to look at avenues that are working and this is country-specific.
But all over the world, essential services are functioning.
So, you might want to pick a local vendor near you (better if they have social media presence, Instagram or something) and offer to take photos of the products (essentially Groceries and daily goods) he is selling and create content for his social media, so the vendor can let his followers know they are open and here to help at this hour.
Products can be procured from the vendor as they are still allowed to distribute groceries. (I have shot for a brand called ecoindian, a modern grocery store here in my area).
Look for sellers who are still active on amazon, shoot them a mail with a similar proposal.
You can also shoot for stock images. Many businesses (that are running) at this hour don’t have the luxury or flexibility to create their own content to keep their profiles going. In such cases, they go to the stock images.
Last, you can take online classes.
If you are proficient enough and have a good social media presence, you can conduct online classes, BTS of your shoots, discuss workflows. Photography is something everyone wants to learn and people have a lot of time at their hands these days.”
4. Deborah Nakaska, Owner of Deborah Nakaska Commercial Photography
“Focus on the future and stay positive – continue working on things that you would need to do even if your business was continuing at this time.
For example; lighting techniques, getting stock, creating new brochures, updating websites, new projects, editing, etc.”
5. Casey Quertermous, Owner of Loud Product Photography
“During this difficult time, typical marketing techniques may push away future customers.
We suggest supporting your community of existing clients by helping them as much as you possibly can. Give each of your clients a couple of free shots each.
With most dependent on online sales, this could help them advertise now when they need sales the most. This builds trust and loyalty in the long term and in the short term it may get them to order more photos from you now if they get a positive result from what you offered.”
6. Liliya Karimov, Owner of Commercial Photography
“I opened a business in March this year and due to quarantine, I can’t start working. While I am staying at home, I intensively look forward to the development of my creative skills thanks to Photoshop.
I am building my portfolio in the hope of finding customers who may like my work and in the future to cooperate with them.”
7. Chad Verzosa, Owner of Lathala Creative Studios
“Running a business is hectic, and as entrepreneurs, we always wish we had the time to pause to figure out what to do next. But now you have this opportunity to see which areas in your business you can improve. Because once clients come flooding in again, you can finally handle more and earn more without getting too stressed.”
8. Tim Stubbings, Owner of Lakesview Studios
“We’re not devastated by Covid-19 because we’re still in good physical health and have the resources to pitch for work again when things normalise.
We’ve just been switching priorities to the following:
- Keeping in contact with clients and seeing how they are doing (as opposed to asking for work).
- Sharing and commenting more on social media.
- Seeing how we can support local charitable initiatives or activities that bring people/business together.
- Learning new skills (video and audio).
Most photographers that work with people can’t travel or interact at the moment but now is the time to act by taking images (and sharing) that are more personal than commercial, and keeping your profile high. Nobody wants to be the guy when all of this is over that people say of them ‘where were you?’”
9. Tanya Cressey, Owner of Tanyacresseyphotography.com
“My best tip to photographers would be to use this time to sort out their archives! They will thank themselves for it later. And a tip for both photographers and studios would be to keep in contact with previous customers and to continue to post on social media to keep their names in people’s minds for when things get back to normal.”
10. Marissa Rossouw, Professional Photographer at Magnetic Photography
“I have found in my own studio that we as photographers will have to rethink the way we do business. The way forward will not be like we are accustomed to, thus I would say you have to adapt your business to fit in with what will trend in the future. I believe things will move more digital as we move forward with on-line businesses. Basically adapt or die.”
Defy the odds and carry on
With the ongoing global pandemic, a lot of us are just trying to make ends meet, but this is not the time to give up.
Although these tips may not be the ultimate and guaranteed solution to get your business up and running at full speed, they are based on real-life and current experiences of experts in the photography industry on surviving the impact of the COVID 19 crisis.
It might not seem like it now but there is an end to all of this, and the best way to cope is to keep moving forward in any way you can so you’re ready to get off the ground once the pandemic is over.