Read on to find out what you can be doing to better your business in this crippling time of coronavirus and social distancing.
There’s no way around it, this Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis is the real deal.
Even if you’re fortunate and unaffected from a health perspective (and hopefully that is true for you and your family), you can’t escape the economic hardship all these lockdowns and prevention measures are causing.
This is particularly true for us in the professional photography industry. We simply thrive off of interacting with people. As that is taken away, so is our livelihood.
It’s as if we’re relegated to painfully watch as our business seemingly slips through the cracks.
Or, so we want to believe.
But what if we told you that you didn’t have to let this crisis cause you to close shop?
What if I told you that now is actually the best time to really separate yourself from the pack and truly make yourself standout?
No, this is not some fantasy talk; this is not some too-good-to-be-true, miracle product pitch – this is reality.
That reality grounded in good-ole-fashioned hard work. The one that lives by the adage you get out what you put in and thrives on sweat and ‘the grind’; that doesn’t fall for short-cuts.
That one in which is clearly a baptism in fire (and burns so bad going in), but leaves you all the better – stronger; a changed person, coming out.
With that in mind it’s clear the time is now. Your time to really shine has come.
Before we continue we want to be very overt and stress to please listen to medical professionals in regards to this pandemic. This virus outbreak is a serious situation that should not be taken lightly.
Be responsible. Do your part. Keep your distance.
Your health and safety, and that of others, is the most important factor – all the time; every time.
Yet, having said that, and, despite that heavy feeling otherwise, there is still plenty that can be done to benefit yourself and your business.
Sure, the photo shoots may have to be put on pause, but your business can still improve; and, in fact, this is the best time to do it.
We’ll tell you how: here a few ways you can better your business and make sure once all this clears up you’re in prime position to achieve your goals.
Get Caught Up
First and foremost, now is the perfect time to catch yourself up and finish any old, lingering, pending projects.
Similar to being in financial debt, clearing your backlog (debt) and getting your head above water is always the first step to getting into the real success. It also helps to sustain your credibility and the trust your clients have for you.
So, use this time wisely, a rare moment without more projects coming in, to take care of your old projects.
Get those albums designed and into the hands of their rightful owners.
We know, you wonder how, though? You can’t meet anyone now and you want to be able to meet with your clients to have your big, signature reveal moment.
Usually this is the best practice, but, we need to stay flexible and understand the situation at hand – something is better than nothing.
So, for now, instead of a big, in-person reveal, take advantage of our drop shipping option and have your finished projects delivered straight to your client’s door. This process is without prices or receipts so there’s need to worry, or hassle.
After all, now, more than ever, your clients would appreciate something comforting to enjoy as a family to distract them from the stressful situation at hand.
Another great way to spend this time productively is to educate yourself on your craft and your business.
Many online platforms are trying to make the best of a bad situation and are offering their content at an extremely reduced rate, or simply for free.
Do yourself, and your business, a favor and take advantage of these incredible opportunities appropriate for your business and craft.
Check out places that founded and run by professional photographers that will help you elevate your skills and business to a new level. Here are a few suggestions and good places to start:
Also, be sure to check out our very own educational platforms such as our YouTube channel, which is full of insightful interviews with industry leaders and award-winning photographers.
Additionally, see our other articles on our blog site; where you can learn how to up your game as business person as well as the ins-and-outs of our professional products.
Specifically, wedding photographers can find out how to effectively use Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads, while any photographer can learn the ways and advantages of Google Analytics.
Not to belabor the point, but again, the professional photography industry finds itself at an eerie, (essentially literal) standstill. This would be the perfect time to step-back and assess your business-to-date and get things tidied up.
We understand that when your in throws of busy season, or frantically looking for the next client, keeping your business and studio organized can get overlooked. Here are some things you can do to help re-organize yourself:
- Go through your library of photos: are they all still necessary? Can you free yourself some space on memory cards, hard drives, image hosting sites?
- How are your subscriptions for online services? Are any coming close to ending and need a re-up?
- Is all your paperwork up-to-date and filed properly?
- How’s your equipment? Do you have enough batteries, memory cards, lights, cameras, lenses? Are they still in good working order?
- Take inventory of your products.
- Is anything missing in your studio offer?
- Are your studio samples in good shape? Maybe it’s time for a replacement/upgrade?
- Review your offer (and numbers) – is a product or package hardly moving? Maybe you can drop it, or replace it with something else? Maybe you re-structure your packages, or bring in a new product, or product type.
- How is your business plan (you have a business plan, right?)? Maybe that could use a good, thorough review and tinkering?
- How is your website? Is it up-to-date? Could it use a refreshing?
- Post images of your work in print products on your website and social media pages/ Update product pictures on your website
- If you don’t have a legitimate, stand-alone website – get one. Diddo if you’re missing any social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn
- Is your studio clean and laid out in a functional way?
So, people are hard to come by, new appointments and your typical subject matter have literally dried up over-night thanks to this retched virus and the (necessary) safety regulations.
This is incredibly tough.
But, it doesn’t mean you should put down your camera and stop posting new images on your social media. In fact, just the opposite.
Social media is ablaze even more than usual in these times. People are anxiously trying to stay connected as well as distracted. You (and your business) would be remiss to not try and provide a distraction for these eager eyes.
Photography is a wonderfully visual, evocative, and immersive medium. It can serve as the perfect source of distraction from these depressing news cycles.
Moreover, it’s an incredibly creative and accessible one.
Let’s face it; yeah, it’s always preferable to have the ideal set up, but, no matter where you are forced to remain while reading this, you have lights, objects, things to photograph.
So you may not have your typical wedding couple, or family of four, or sexy boudoir model walking through the door, or, your perfectly lit and decorated set, but what can you produce with what you have?
Now is the time to put your immense creativity to the test and think outside the box.
Maybe you start to take pictures of your dog and cat, or other pet, and post them on your social accounts? Maybe you create abstract scenes with the items and lighting available to you in your house/apartment(flat)? Maybe you get your kids/spouse involved? Self-portraits anyone??
Be creative and push Photo Shop to its limits!
The point is, posting content to your channels, and having an excuse to email your subscriber/contact list about new content can only benefit you, and, quite frankly, the more creative the content the better.
Considering filling all this under an appropriate story title – ‘When Lockdown Meets Artist’, or so on. Who knows, you may even pick up a skill you carry over to your usual work once this all clears up.
One other consideration: take this time, if you haven’t already, to explore video.
Video has become the most consumed form of media in the past few years. This trend is only projected to grow. With that, it is a skill that can only help you and your business in the long-run. Now, could be a good time to read up and experiment with small video projects, again, creatively, with what you have at your disposal.
Just because you can’t get out in a physical sense doesn’t mean you can’t stay noticed virtually. Hosting live events, or posting videos on your social media, is a great way to stay in touch with your clients and community.
In fact, now would be a perfect time to host a live, or post a video addressing some FAQs and concerns your clients – or would be clients – may have at such an uncertain time like this. This is especially true if you are a wedding photographer, or large event photographer where people are anxious to know what to think of their ‘big day’ plans and would like some semblance of certainty.
On the other side of the spectrum, you can use this opportunity to make your own photography tutorial videos to share with your community and audience
Everyone these days has access to a camera, and, there are many ways for beginners to take advantage of photography lessons without needing to venture far off their property.
Put yourself in the role of an educator and share your craft with the world. This is a great way to keep your name noticed in this ‘down time’, as well as a way to give back. Heck, you might even find it fun!
Covid-19 has effectively erased the next 3 months in the appointment book. And, the scary reality is it could likely erase more than that. The only way to survive this is to be resourceful – read, re-purposeful.
Without new clients coming in, there is a need to rely on old and existing clients. Luckily, the pro photography world has offered up an ingenious way to reach out to your existing and old client base.
Numerous pros have suggested now is the time to get in touch with old and existing clients who did not purchase an album, and offer them one for a discounted rate with the photos you already have of them.
Of course, you could even reach out to those who have already ordered an album and offer up something else, like a folio box, prints, or a piece of wall-art or two.
Remember, at nPhoto we are still open and producing products at our usual time-frame. Take advantage of our drop shipping mentioned earlier and service these clients with little hassle.
For more on how to approach your clients in these times, see: "Pro Photographer: How to Keep your Clients Happy during Covid-19."
Another great way to use your work in a different way is to create a blog. (If you have one already, update it and keep it fresh.)
Take some photos of certain shoots you have and find a story to tell of them. Write the story while placing your photos amongst the text. Don’t worry, you don’t need Pulitzer prize writing material to have a great blog. It’s enough to have easy language that clearly states your motive and moves the story arc along.
Furthermore, a blog is a great way to not only re-purpose photos, but also to improve your website’s SEO (that's Search Engine Optimization, or your business's online visibility. VERY important).
The other great thing about this is you can even use photos you have from age-old shoots So as long as you keep them relevant to your current brand and theme and give them appropriate, unique, and engaging text, your audience will not know, nor care, how old the photos are.
So, if you have a blog, update it; add to it. If you don’t have one, make one - now.
Get [Virtually] Social
As mentioned before, just because physical social events are prohibited at this time doesn’t mean you have to become a seclusive recluse.
Thanks to technology of today, it’s easy to stay in touch with your community – even in times as dire as this.
Also, now is the ideal time to expand your network. Social media platforms, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other video conference programs are abuzz even more than usual with people eager to stay connected.
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, and, instead, be proactive in finding and jumping on-board appropriate photography and/or business webinars and conference calls.
Look for photography or business-related groups to join via social media. Now, such places are teeming with activity, discussion, and valuable content.
However, don’t neglect your own community.
As mentioned in the ‘Get Live’ section now is the perfect time for you to really step up and become a leader in your community by staying connected, making sure everyone is doing OK, and offering your skill set and creativity to help distract the community from this strange and anxiety-inducing time.
The Show MUST Go On
Let’s take a step back and not forget the top priority in this outbreak is always the health and safety of yourself, your family, your loved ones, and your community.
Do not forget this; and, before anything else is done, be sure all those listed are doing well.
Yet, once that’s assured, the show – that is your business – must go on, even in this bizarre and scary time.
Moreover, even though you can’t take on typical shoots and clients, there is still plenty that can be done to benefit yourself as a pro and your photography brand.
Remember: photography is a skill. And, with any skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So whatever you do don’t stop shooting and editing.
Even you award-winning, seasoned vets, if you take too much time away what was once routine will become cumbersome. Take any and every opportunity to get the camera in your hands, do a quick edit, and keep that muscle memory fresh.
Once this all clears you don’t want to be slow and rusty, but ready and efficient.
On the business-side of things, keep your name out there. The last thing you want is for the dust to settle and for no one to remember who you are.
You’ve worked too hard for too long to get to where you are – don’t get complacent now and have this be the end of your photography business.
Now is a tough time, but not impossible.
Now is your time to really stand tall and shine as a serious industry leader and emerge even better and stronger as a photography business.
To be sure of this, in this remarkable moment of ‘social distancing’, (health and safety accounted for) use your time productively, and stay focused.
Get your rest, and spend time with your family and loved ones, but don't neglect your business. Keep your eyes on the long-term goals, as well as your business and your craft as outlined above.
Remember, this will all come to pass. Society will return to normal.
When it does people will be all the more eager to get out, enjoy themselves, and remember it. Be ready, and be better to take that next step in your professional life.
In the meantime, keep your eyes on the forest through the trees; and, remember at nPhoto we've got your back.
We're all in this together, and, we're going to get out of this stronger than ever.
Share with us in the comments below what you're doing to stay sane and productive in this uncertain time.