Just like in most industries, the commercial photography business is also reeling in pain due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Photographers are struggling with closing new contracts due to the countless events being cancelled.

Product photographers are left with very little to no local clients since several brick-and-mortar stores have stopped operating.

Add to that how some government agencies have mandated a coronavirus quarantine (which they should), and it becomes clear as day why photographers are fighting an uphill battle to keep their businesses afloat.

If you’re facing the exact same struggles right now and you’re starting to feel desperate about how you can keep your photography business amidst all this chaos, we’re glad that you’re here.

We will share with you several strategies or action steps that you can use to navigate through this crisis.

Income-Generating Photography Business Tips for COVID-19

Income-Generating Photography Business Tips for COVID-19

1. Sell stock photos

While you continue searching for ecommerce clients, you can also sell stock photos.
That way, you don’t have to be idle while waiting for replies from your prospective clients.
These are some of the places where you can sell stock photos online:

  • Alamy
    With over 60 million images, Alamy is the largest stock photo website.
    Photographers earn 50% of every sale and aren’t restricted to selling exclusively with Alamy.
    To join, photographers need to fill out a form and pass a quality control test.
  • iStock Photo
    You can offer your images exclusively for iStock and earn 45% royalty, or you can offer your photos to other platforms too and earn a 15% royalty instead.
    Upon joining the platform, you have access to online forums so you can chat and learn from other artists.
  • Fotolia and Adobe Stock
    Photographers earn 33% of each sale through both Fotolia and Adobe Stock.
    For images downloaded from a subscription plan, the minimum guaranteed payment depends on the photographer’s rank. To sell here, you must be 18 or older with a confirmed Fotolia account.

2. Run virtual photography lessons

The majority of people are now stuck at home and millions of them have photography equipment that they’ve never used to its full potential.

So why not teach them what you know and make money out of it?

You can charge people to access your video tutorials or require their email in exchange for your lessons.

When you’ve managed to build your email list, you can start sending newsletters to slowly build your relationship with them. When you’ve established a level of trust with your list, you can start selling them your online courses — they’d be more receptive to paying you, at that point.

To make it easier for you to run your virtual lessons, you can use a platform like Kajabi.

It’s an all-in-one platform that streamlines your course and website creation, marketing, and community management.

They also have a bounty of resources you can refer to on how to create and start your online photography course. Kajabi offers a free trial, too!

3. Join online photo contests

Whether you’re looking to make money or you want to establish your authority as a trustworthy and sought-after photographer, joining contests is the way to go. Moreover, it will help you to create and influence new connections who will be potential clients in future.

Here are some online photo contests you can join while in quarantine:

  • 2020iSOLATiON
    More than just being a photography competition, this is also a social documentary project. To enter, photographers can send an image that reflects their unique experience of the COVID-19 2020 isolation.
  • MonoVisions Photography Awards
    It’s an annual competition open to photographers of all backgrounds and all levels.
    They accept all forms of black and white photography created with traditional or digital methods.
  • The Chelsea International Photography Competition
    This competition has over $70,000 worth of prizes.
    What’s more, photographers can join this contest regardless of what stage they are in their careers.

(Keep in mind that these competitions have deadlines.)

4. Establish and optimize your social media profile

While things might be looking slow right now, once this crisis is over, there is going to be a MASSIVE influx of projects that photographers need to fulfill.

That is why you need to stay on top of your social media game.

Keep sharing your stunning product photos and reach out to your prospective clients.

Also, make sure that your profile photo and header images look professional.

With an established social media profile, you can start fishing for clients by building relationships with them right now, so it becomes easier for you to close them when they’re ready to work with a photographer.

Tips From Established Photographers And Organizations About Navigating Through the COVID-19 Crisis

“Shoot for stock photography sites. This won’t generate huge income right away but it will give you something to do and hopefully grow a passive income stream you can use in the future.”

Teresa Milner

 

“But times have changed and we need to change with them. We need to be nimble in our processes and flexible in the way we deal with the next months and years, so that we can survive the now and thrive when things get better.”

David J. Crewe

 

“Spend some time on organizing your portfolio and creating a client-attractive website that’ll help you drive traffic, showcase your work, and generate leads. Also, conduct keyword research to make sure you’re creating the right content that will help your site rank high in search engine results and attract the right prospects.”

From the Professional Photographers of America

 

“Find opportunities! This is a great chance to be of help, offer test/styled shoots for no cost. Help them to create content, design their website, and other things that can help them get back on their feet. Invest in your networks knowing that they will invest back in you, especially when things improve.”

Pye Jirsa

Financial Management Photography Business Tips For COVID-19

Regardless of how your business is doing, your financial management should be on point.

If you want to navigate through this COVID-19 crisis, you’ll need the right strategies to manage your finances properly.

To help you with that, we’ve put together these financial management tips.

1. Stay on top of your cash flow

Use online finance apps such as Mint.

The tool offers an all-in-one resource to help you create a budget, track your spending, and ultimately implement smart money practices.

You can connect all your credit cards, monthly bills, and bank accounts and manage your finances in one place.

The app tells you your billing due dates, how much you owe, and what you can afford to pay according to your available funds.

Stay on top of your cash flow

You can also set up payment reminders to notify you when you’re reaching your budget limits.

Plus, the app provides specific recommendations to help you manage your spending and finances better.

2. Diversify where you keep your money

Remember that insurance services and agencies will generally protect investment and bank accounts of up to a certain amount only.

If you keep all your savings in one institution, you might lose all your money in case the financial institution goes belly up.

That is why you need to keep your cash diversified in various banks and financial agencies.

This way, if one institution goes down, you’ll still have access to ready cash while working on getting your money back through your insurance agency.

Remember that insurance services and agencies will generally protect investment and bank accounts of up to a certain amount only.

If you keep all your savings in one institution, you might lose all your money in case the financial institution goes belly up.

That is why you need to keep your cash diversified in various banks and financial agencies.

This way, if one institution goes down, you’ll still have access to ready cash while working on getting your money back through your insurance agency.

3. Talk to a financial management consultant

While the tips we shared here can certainly help you, at the end of the day, we don’t know (exactly) the dynamics that you’re facing now.

That is why talking to a financial management consultant can do wonders for you.

As the consultant talks to you and gets a better understanding of what’s happening to your business, you can get timely, highly-relevant, and actionable financial management advice.

You need to come up with short-term and long-term financial strategies so you can manage the impact of the COVID-19.

For your short-term strategies, you can do a scenario planning to get a better idea of how much cash you’ll need and for how long. Communicate with your financing partners to ensure you have an available line of credit and can explore additional options if you need them.

If you’re part of a union or professional organization, don’t hesitate to see if there is some kind of financial assistance they can offer.

For your long-term financial strategies, you’d do well if you gave your cost control a closer look. For a lot of businesses, the difference between them getting profit or them experiencing a loss isn’t always their sales volume, but it’s cost control.

Debt management is also an important aspect of your long-term financial strategies. Review the interest you’re paying each year and set a goal to reduce your debt. You can contact other banking institutions so you can consolidate your debts. If not, ask for a payment arrangement from the current bank you’re working with.

4. Invest in your skills

While everyone is on lockdown and you pretty much can’t go outside to meet with your clients, team, and take photoshoots, you can commit to improving your photography skills.

You can join photography courses online, read articles about photography or business management, etc.

You can also work on your marketing strategies, portfolio and website which are quite crucial to visualize your talents and capabilities as usual.

Government Grants and Funds

Governments around the globe are doling out financial relief programs and measures to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Government announced Grants

Here are some of the countries providing grants that you can apply for and a few of their available programs.

  • The United States. The US federal government provides a direct incentive for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program to keep workers employed.

Each company can get a loan of up to $10 million for payroll and other specific expenses.

Other programs include state programs, such as grants for entrepreneurs and low-interest loans.

  • The United Kingdom. Value Added Tax payments that are due from March and the end of June 2020 are deferred by three months to help businesses manage their cash flow.

Income tax payments due July 2020 are also deferred to January 2021 under the Self Assessment system.

  • Canada. Businesses can get a 75% wage subsidy from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) if their revenue decreases by 15% or more for up to three months — retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Germany. The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau offers low-interest loans for companies that were not in financial difficulties before December 31, 2019, but is now suffering from the impact of coronavirus measures. Click here for more information.
  • Austria. Small and medium-sized companies can obtain their credit guarantees from Austria Wirtschaftsservice.Applications for tax deferments by companies and individuals are available here. Self-employed people insured with the SVS can defer social security payments here.
  • France. Businesses and workers eligible for a tax-exempt grant of up to €1,500 from France’s €1bn “solidarity fund.” Also, small businesses and self-employed workers affected by lockdowns may postpone or redistribute payments for rent and utilities on their professional premises. Check their tax website for more information.
  • Belgium. The “bridging grant” (Droit passerelle) lets self-employed workers apply monthly for assistance up to €1,290 (€1,614 for families).
  • Ireland. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (€350 per week) allows individuals who have lost their occupation due to the COVID-19 pandemic up to or after 13 March.

Here are several more grants or funds that you can look into that might be helpful for your business.

If there are other grants you’re aware of, please share them in the comment section below so that other photographers can learn of them, too.

How to Deal With Contract Cancellations

Cancelled contracts leave a devastating blow to your business, so it’s best to expect a loss of income to strategize how you can best navigate and compensate for limited projects.

First off, all of us will suffer a blow from the ongoing pandemic, so provide some leeway for your clients who want to cancel your contracts.

Contract Cancellation

You can offer alternatives to your clients, such as rescheduling the contract duration and providing minimum (as much as possible) pricing adjustments.

It’s crucial to exercise compassion during this crisis, so if your contract has a “No Refund” clause, try to make it a win-win situation for you and your clients by offering to return a small percentage of the deposit. (Only if you can manage this.)

You can also choose to honour the no refund policy but at least revoke accompanying penalties.

This way, you can minimize the impact of your cancelled contracts and not lose every cent while exercising the sensitivity we all need during this time of crisis.

What’s next?

We know that you, just like most businesses, are hurting because of the COVID 19 crisis.

We’re feeling the devastating effects of the crisis, too.

However, we’d like to do whatever we can to help you cope and even thrive during this challenging time.

That is why we are offering a 50% discount on all photo-editing services.

If you need help
with your photo editing needs

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