Over the last few months, the wedding industry has been turned completely upside down due to the effects of COVID19. From prohibiting large events and gatherings, to complete government shutdowns across public beaches, restaurants, parks and popular landmarks nationwide- the typical ‘busy’ and bustling summer season for wedding photographers is, unfortunately, not really hitting the mark this year.
As a wedding, lifestyle or elopement photographer, some important questions you should be asking yourself right now might be, “How could I best respond and adapt to coronavirus having serious implications on my clients, future and current bookings, income outlook and business overall?”
I’m revealing how you should best answer those questions through some up-to-date coronavirus resources for wedding planning, and am sharing my top tips on adapting to the pandemic as a photographer during these unprecedented times.
HOW ARE COUPLES WITH WEDDING PLANS RESPONDING TO THE PANDEMIC?
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, engaged couples are handling the future of their wedding plans in a variety of different ways.
Some couples have decided to postpone their entire wedding, ceremony and reception, to a later date altogether. Other couples are signing the paperwork and tying the official knot now but postponing the actual wedding celebrations with loved ones until a later date. Alternatively, many other couples have decided that elopement suits their fancy instead, and while they might plan to have a bigger reception at a later date as well, are looking to elope and officially get married now. These couples may potentially still be keeping their original vendors for their 2021 events next year, but are still maybe looking to hire an elopement photographer for this year, too!
PROVIDE HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR COUPLES AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS
Your clients are most likely experiencing a lot of emotions during this time: anger, confusion, disappointment, the list goes on! Choosing a wedding date is a huge deal, and no one ever anticipates having to change that date, let alone a global pandemic of all things affecting wedding plans and causing forced cancellations. Due to the unexpectedness of everything happening, there are not a ton of resources available for couples going through the steps of having to either cancel or postpone their big day.
This is an opportunity for you as their photographer to try and be resourceful to your clients during this time! Some ways you can help might be:
- Simply allow them to vent! Let your clients feel and be upset about the situation. It’s not hard to see why they would be having some serious emotions right now. Be there for them if they need.
- Suggest they review their previously booked vendor contracts, and to reach out ASAP to those vendors to discuss postponement and/or cancelation options
- Remind them to pick a new date for a future wedding as soon as possible, since many couples will be doing the same and to inform their guests of the new date
A lot of couples probably don’t know where to turn right now. Helping guide our clients to navigate this *temporary* new normal. Making suggestions and being resourceful your clients may not have thought about will be undoubtedly appreciated.
YOUR FIRST-TIME ELOPEMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Over the last couple of months, I’ve received a lot of questions from photographers asking tips for capturing elopements! So many of them have some type of intimate wedding upcoming for the first time in their career and are not sure what to expect.
I want to share my top tips for capturing an incredible elopement!
Be prepared to help plan
You may have to play the role of a planner and an elopement photographer in some situations. While I do recommend my clients hire a team to help with the planning, given the circumstances of coronavirus, most couples might not be able to do this right now. So, be prepared to help with recommending other vendors with experience. Another suggestion might be to consider a timeline with your clients that reflects the golden hour. As you know, either sunrise or sunset would be ideal for those picture-perfect moments.
Consider “the little things” that the couple might not think about
Chances are, your clients’ original wedding plans looked a lot different than what they do now because of all the cancellations and pushbacks. As their photographer, you have the ability to really go the extra mile and make your clients feel super special on their big day. The best part about this tip is that it’s the little touches that you can add that will make a big difference – and your extra touches don’t (and shouldn’t) have to be anything over the top or fancy, either.
Consider some ideas such as bringing a Bluetooth speaker along to be able to play your couples favorite music. Or, maybe bring a bottle of champagne along to pop and toast with the couple after the “I do’s” are said! Little gestures like this can make such a huge impact, and from experience, really go a long way for your clients.
Scout the location
I recommend knowing and being comfortable with the location that you’ll be shooting prior to the day of the wedding.
That way, on the day of the elopement – you’ll be prepared and well versed with the area and already have a game plan for shooting the big day.
I also like to suggest having a backup location in case due to whatever reason on the day of, the location will no longer work out.
Having your couple read over my Elopement Guide will ensure that they consider everything necessary with choosing a location for the closures with coronavirus.
REMEMBER YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING DURING THESE TIMES, TOO!
Now that we’ve talked about caring for our clients during the pandemic, let’s talk about our role as photographers during this time and preparing for its effects.
There are important questions that you should be asking yourself regarding the future of your business and how to handle postponements. Do you plan to charge clients a rescheduling fee? Are you going to elevate your booking costs for scheduling in 2021?
The most important thing to remember no matter what is to communicate any and all changes or expectations that you have with your clients, ensuring that everyone is on the same page going forward with bookings and any new procedures.
What do you love most about being a photographer? What plans do you have for yourself and your business going forward? If you are struggling in any way, I highly suggest digging deep within and doing the tedious work to answer and focus on these kinds of questions right now! Re-align your purpose within the industry. These unforeseen times of postponed photoshoots and cancelled gatherings provides a unique opportunity to better yourself as a photographer, and make changes within your business that you’ve been hoping to implement, or perhaps you might set some new goals and boundaries as a business owner for the 2021 year.
Just remember, we will get through these times!
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