The coronavirus pandemic has taken it’s toll on many industries. Some fields were hit much harder than others. According to a recent The Economist report, Covid-19 has stalled the wedding industry, affecting mainly small players and family-owned businesses (wedding planners, florists, wedding dress boutiques, etc.).
Professional wedding photographers and videographers have also felt the effect of the pandemic.
If you work in the indsutry, you’ve definitely seen a drop in business. Social distancing measures have kept people from engaging in wedding ceremonies since the beginning of 2020. Now that the restrictions are starting to get lifted, life is slowly returning to normal for some countries (Looks like the US is hit by the second wave). Lavish wedding ceremonies attended by hundreds of guests, however, are still in the distant future.
What does it take to survive as a professional wedding photographer or videographer in this difficult moment?
It’s a challenge but I’ll try to provide some ideas and suggestions that can be embraced to ensure the long-term sustainability of your business.
How Wedding Photographers Should Address Existing Contracts
Chances are that you have multiple contracts with clients who haven’t gotten to enjoy their wedding as a result of social distancing measures.
This is the first issue you need to address.
Because we’re in extraordinary and strange times, you will need to give your clients much more flexibility.
While contracts have clear cancellation and rescheduling policies, you may want to overlook those clauses in terms of offering refunds.
Many people who planned to get married in 2020 will be forced to postpone their wedding at least until next year. Chances are that these people would want to get back the money they spent on services that may never be utilised.
Your number one goal right now is to keep customers satisfied.
That means you will have to take some financial losses unless you’ve already mentioned this in your contract.
Don’t wait for clients to come to you, give them a call. A proactive approach and some willingness on your behalf to resolve the situation will go a long way.
Chances are that you will come up with a mutually-beneficial solution for a complicated situation. If your actions are adequate and customer-centric, you’ll keep opportunities for long-term business. Needless to say, this is what matters the most right now.
COVID-19 Tips for Wedding Photographers and Videographers: Focus on Cash Flow
Now that you’ve handled outstanding contracts and complications, it’s time to think about cash flow.
At that very moment, it is the one thing that will help you stay afloat and survive the COVID-19 crisis.
Right now, you need money to cover expenses and keep your studio from becoming indebted. The goal can be accomplished in a couple of ways.
For a start, evaluate your working ‘capital’. While you probably have some idea, chances are that you haven’t done an accurate calculation for some time already. Thus, you’ll potentially be surprised but you’ll also come across opportunities to reduce some of the needless expenditure right now.
Be relentless in terms of cost control, especially now.
When you handle this first part of the process, start examining opportunities to generate the cashflow required to cover essential expenses.
Keep in contact with your clients. Those who have rescheduled a photo or video shoot may be willing to offer an advance payment right now.
Also, consider expanding the range of services you’re offering to accommodate for the current situation. We’ll focus on some of these opportunities in the coming sections.
Come Up with New Revenue Streams
While the job of professional wedding photographers and videographers is pretty traditional, there are ways to innovate and offer some interesting new solutions.
Virtual services and livestreaming are one possibility many professionals are embracing now.
Doing remote photo shoots (for an engagement or as a part of a couple’s shoot) is something you can do safely and effectively right now.
In the event of a remote shoot, you and the client do not need to be in the same location. Good internet access and the right equipment will be sufficient to get the job done.
Obviously, shooting weddings this way is not possible. Still, remote photo and video shoots can be a nice little perk that many couples will have fun with while their wedding ceremony is postponed.
Apps like Zoom and Skype are great tools you can use to have a conversation with clients about their needs. A video call is quick, easy and it will give you a lot of clarity about the kinds of services you could be offering right now.
Not only that, remote photo and video shoots allow you to expand the geographic area you work in. Potentially, you can establish relationships with many clients you wouldn’t be able to meet in person. So don’t dismiss this idea, even if you’ve never considered remote shoots before.
Loyalty Programs and Plans to Maintain Client Relationships
Once things go back to normal, you will have to compete against many other photographers and videographers for a market share.
Setting yourself apart from the competition is easy in two ways. For a start, offer clients a great service. In addition, you could create new packages and promo opportunities that other photographers and videographers simply don’t offer at the moment.
Offer clients a discount if they book their future wedding shoot right now. You can also come up with a simple monthly instalment program that makes it easy for couples to pay for wedding photography or videography right now. This second idea is great for all parties involved because it will generate you some working cashflow.
You can always offer some kind of incentive or freebie for clients to sign a future contract with you right now. A free photo album or a customised short web clip (for social media sharing) are cute perks that many brides-to-be and their future grooms will enjoy.
Remember – you know your clients and their needs. Use this knowledge to your advantage and put together irresistible offers.
The Importance of Your Professional Network
Keeping in touch with other photographers and videographers is more important than ever before.
Covid-19 has made people open up to each other. After all, we’re in it together. Maintaining your professional network (even if that’s just virtually) can provide new opportunities and valuable information for the survival of your business.
In some regions, local photographers have agreed to partner up with each other. They shoot for another professional’s clients at a discounted rate, enabling photographers and videographers to reach a bigger clientele and help each other survive.
This means that if a customer chooses a date a photographer can’t do, one of their colleagues will be there to help out. In the end, all parties involved will benefit from the partnership.
This is just one collaboration option. If you are a photographer, you should keep in touch with videographers, wedding planners and even the owners of reception venues. Such an extensive industry network can point you towards qualified leads and you can easily return the favour whenever your clients are in need of a particular service.
Use the Time Off to Boost Your Business
The fact is that business will probably slow down in the coming months, even if you have undertaken all of the measures mentioned above.
That time can be used to enhance your skills and offer much more competitive services to your clients in the future.
Is there a photography or videography technique you fancy but are not particularly good at?
The moment is ideal for the acquisition of new knowledge, style or skills. You probably have more spare time than before the introduction of social distancing measures. Use this time to become a more competitive wedding photographer or videographer.
Not only can you improve your technique, you can also acquire the skills needed to offer additional services.
Are you a videographer who typically outsources your videos? You can definitely add more to your videos and expand your portfolio.
Plan for the Future!
While the future may seem pretty scary right now, the world will eventually go back to normal.
You should be prepared for this moment.
Even if you are feeling pessimistic, you should plan ahead for the future.
Just because you’re not shooting wedding right now doesn’t mean you should give into despair. Take the time to expand your services and to build better relationships with your clients. Enhance your studio’s website and work on your social media presence.
People who cannot get married right now are most definitely thinking about the future and considering professional wedding photographers and videographers. They’re researching, bookmarking and getting in touch with wedding professionals to inquire. You can reach all of these people by refocusing your efforts and understanding the possibilities that the current crisis brings to you.
In other words, a glass half full mindset will be of great importance at the time being. While this may seem like a massive cliché, it definitely holds true for addressing challenges. Optimising expenses, being flexible and seeking new ways to grow will all yield results if you remain committed and ready to do whatever it takes to hold on.
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