the blog

Coronavirus & Your Photography Business

March 16, 2020

I don’t think anyone saw this coming. ⁣I’m the type of person that kicks into gear in the midst of emergency and chaos. I quickly think of steps to take and focus my energy on creating a plan and managing the chaos. ⁣So that’s what I did, and you can read it HERE. But over the course of one week, the reality of all this sunk in! I’ve had 9 weddings cancel or postpone. Coronavirus has stolen $17,000 from my photography business in a matter of 2 weeks.

There are lots of articles out there, including the one that I wrote telling you what to do in this moment. But the truth is… it’s going to look different for all of us.

Processing my new normal

I’m a big fan of honesty and authenticity in business. So… to be frank… I’m not really sure how to process all of this.

Just as I’ve written this blog post, my cancelled weddings went from 9 to 10 and that’s just April & May Weddings. We don’t even know how long this is going to last!

Sometime days I feel fine because I know that my hope isn’t found in anything this world has to offer. Sometimes I sit and cry, frustrated and mad. Sometimes I die laughing at all the memes because it’s all that I can do. Sometimes I sit and hold my 3 beautiful kids so thankful for the extra time with my kids. Sometimes I feel that if I spend one more minute with them, I’m going to pull my hair out. ⁣

All of our normal has been disrupted. Restaurants, closed. Group hangouts, not allowed. Social Distancing. Isolation. Economic Disaster. Weddings Cancelled. Sessions Postponed. Money gone. Kids Home. People dying.

Our world has been through a lot the last few weeks. Our businesses have been through a lot the last few weeks. WE have been through a lot the last few weeks.

The Coronavirus pandemic will be an event that reshapes us as much as 9/11 or the 2008 Financial Crisis.

I mean, a global virus that causes nations to completely shut down? That locks people in their homes for weeks (if not months)! It’s changing how we communicate, how we connect, how we market, how we sell, how we talk, how we see, and how we live. Not one of us is exempt from the effects of Coronavirus. ⁣

And I just want to let you know that it’s okay to struggle. To ask for help. To feel lost. To not really know what to do. This is a nuts. And it felt like it happened so suddenly. This is new territory for everyone. We can all give you our best advice but the truth is… we don’t have all the answers. We’ve never been here either. ⁣All we can give you is the tools that we’ve found most helpful and offer as much comfort as we can muster up! So… that’s what I have for you here.

it’s going to be okay

How do I know?

Because we’ve survived 100% of our worst days so far! THIS. TOO. SHALL. PASS.

Does it feel like it? NO!

It feels like things are out of control. It feels really freaking hard.

But hard days, that’s what winners are made of! Hard days are what turn ordinary things into extraordinary things! Hard days challenge us to our core but teach us some of life’s BEST lessons. Hard days are when we discover strength we never knew we had.

In chaotic times like this one, remember the instrument of your mind. Honor the ups AND the downs that you are experiencing. Coach yourself through living in these really hard moments but also allow others to help you carry the burden.

  • Forced to apply for unemployment? It’s Okay.
  • Deciding whether or not keeping your photo biz open? It’s Okay.
  • Did your day consist of sitting and crying? It’s okay.
  • Need to look at memes every single day to force yourself to smile? It’s okay.
  • Not sure what to post on IG and FB right now? Its okay.
  • Consider getting dressed in the morning an achievement? It’s okay.

You don’t have to create your best content ever. You don’t have to start a blog if you don’t want to. You don’t have to force yourself to look on the bright side. You don’t have to be “thankful” for a government stimulus package that is meant to help but doesn’t even cover one of your weddings that cancelled. You don’t have to use this time to exercise and get healthy.

Focus on lamenting the things you have lost and will continue to lose. I don’t talk about my faith all the time because there’s a stigma when people talk about it. But lamenting has been a huge factor in processing all of this.

Lamenting is a type of prayer where we approach God with our sorrow, frustration, and angst, collapsing at his feet.

And while our society praises those who get right back up and hustle. I’m going to encourage you to do the opposite. Lamenting is something we need to do. Because when we lament, we become aware of our thoughts and begin putting into words the state of our heart. We embrace these waves of emotions and surrender them all to God instead of falling into a tunnel of anxiety.

Through my lamenting, I’ve been able to become a little more whole and have gradually began the process of saying, “It’s going to be okay.”

Somebody help

In addition to the emotional side of all this, there is the practical side. How do you deal with the effects of Coronavirus on your Photography Business? How do you respond to clients who want to cancel and not postpone? What do you need to say when YOU want to cancel but a client won’t postpone their session? What do you say when someone asks for all their money back that they’ve already paid? Are you legally allowed to tell them no? How can you provide for my family right now? Are there any places that are giving out grants or resources for businesses like yours?

To help photographer’s with all the practical things during this time, I created a free guide:

Coronavirus and your photography business | Marketing for Photographers with Ariel Dilworth

In this coronavirus toolkit you’ll find:

  • The 3 things you contract needs to have in it
  • ⁣How to know if you can legally say no
  • How to respond to Clients in ALL scenarios (with real, copy and paste email templates that I’ve been using in my own businesses)
  • My advice for surviving this time financially
  • The one tip I’ve received from both my lawyer and my accountant
  • Places you can go to receive help

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Ariel Dilworth © 2019