Pandemic doesn’t have to imply being paralyzed or frozen by panic. There’s a lot of advice out there for photographers to help you professionally and personally during these trying times, from buying stock (please only do this if you truly know what you are doing), to enjoying your sofa as much as you can.
The industry and society still need YOU. And you need to stay positive and productive. In the end, when the pandemic is over, you’ll go back to doing what you know and love.
Here are some ideas we’ll hopefully find useful and can give a try.
Please share this article with anyone you want to help spread ideas!
- CONTACT YOUR CLIENTS
How much value do you place on a smile or a word from a friend saying that “everything will be ok”?
We all need to know we are in this together. Contact your clients with the purpose of offering a positive word and asking about how they are doing will be greatly valued and remembered.
Make a quick list, if you don’t have one, and decide if you would prefer to use e-mail, make a personal call, send a text, a WhatsApp message or a written note.
Now that we have more time to do things, you can have the luxury to be more creative, for example, you can take a creative funny pic, a photo of your pet, or something you love at home, or even make a video of you playing your favorite instrument and send it to your clients to just ask about how they’re doing and say: Hello♥!
- BE WISE WITH YOUR RESOURCES
Equipment, food, essentials, $$
We are living in times of uncertainty and for that simple reason making the best use of your resources can be the difference between going to sleep peacefully each night or spending the night thinking about what you’ll do.
Review your budget, sales and obligations to build a quick view of your current cash flow. If you have debts, make sure you have a plan for what you’ll do in the coming weeks so you can have things under control. For example, you can talk with your lenders and make new arrangements. If there are people who owe you money, decide how you’ll handle that. Use the same compassion you expect for yourself.
Make an inventory of your photography equipment, supplies, and then include food and home supplies. Find things you can sell or donate. Unused pieces of furniture, or photography equipment you don’t really use can be traded for $. Doing these things will help you be in the best position possible to face the next couple of months.
Build a food storage for an emergency, a 72-hour survival kit in case of catastrophe, check your emergency fund, your investments and make sure you are aware of your subscriptions and monthly obligations. Then decide if it’s time to stop some and save money on things you don’t need.
- THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Yes, nothing new here, but unleashing your mind to think about all the crazy and different things you can come up with will make you smile and realize that you are a passionate creative person. Being a photographer implies being creative and finding solutions in the middle of a storm – you know a thing or two about that!
Engage your clients through social media, running a contest, building an online course with a couple free introducing lessons, offering photo book for your clients, offering restorations to your previous clients, create pre-paid packages with discounts to use it at the end of the year, offer your services to restaurants and other business that still need promotion in your area, are some of the ideas you can try.
Have your own weekly brainstorming session, invite your partner or children if you want, and make a list of all your ideas or create a colorful mind-map. Then, take the time to select the ones you would like to implement. Don’t worry about failing. Create your new schedule based on those ideas and enjoy the ride!
- INVEST IN YOURSELF
Decide to do daily things to keep yourself as healthy as you can. A big and sudden change in routine sometimes produces a chain of unconscious changes in basic behaviors, for example the way we feed ourselves, you may find you are eating a lot more or substantially less by being home.
Remember to exercise. Don’t think about your restrictions but focus on your possibilities. In Italy there was a man who decided to run a marathon on his 7-meter balcony. He finished in 6 hours and 48 minutes! (https://youtu.be/5CdgcYKQR_c). You don’t need to do something extreme like that but keeping a daily work-out routine will help you feel good. Yoga, Qi-Gong, breathing routines, the old treadmill, and jump rope, are some of the things you can practice.
Investing in yourself translates to many different activities far beyond just keeping physically active. Think about online classes you would like to take, things maybe you have postponed, or simply things you would love to know.
Find an edge of your photography work where you would like to become an expert in, for example, you may decide to learn more about video and become a videographer or learn about macro photography. Painting, drawing, and reading are all great ways to invest in yourself. There are so many free and great resources available, it would be sad to not take this time to deepen your knowledge and expertise in fields outside the ones you already have experience with.
- PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Our future will be the result of our vision, plans and actions. Being able to visualize and create the future we expect is crucial in order to achieve it.
We all know about the impact of visualization for high performance athletes, for example. There is no difference about using that power in our life and businesses.
Design in your mind and write down each step, including all details, imagine every possible scenario, anticipate consequences and find movements and decisions that would help you achieve your goals.
Even if you feel you’re in a challenging or difficult situation, or ‘dying’ in your business as a professional photographer, you can find deep strength if you are able to develop the vision of where you want to be.
Identify the advice and the core ideas and knowledge you can use to guide your steps so you can use the strength you need to help you keep ‘rowing’ and use all your inner power to move forward towards your goals.
- HELP SOMEONE ELSE
Last, but not least important. ‘Social distancing’ is the basic recommendation to keep the virus from spreading. Words are also powerful, and we need to be careful to make sure we are still having contact with others, even if we must be quarantined at home.
We live in a marvelous and blessed time where it’s easy to be in contact with your loved ones, friends, and even get to know new people online. Be ‘screiend’ (friend through screen) wise. Having a daily routine to contact those you love, friends you can’t meet personally, those living abroad, or even exchanging ideas in a forum will help you feel like you are still part of society.
You may consider joining groups like the FOFC Social Distancing Club, a group project for documentary photographers from all over the world to practice photography by documenting their stories during social distancing.
Your voice is still greatly needed, and it can do a lot of good in lifting others, share your plans and ideas and find support when you need it.
There are many people feeling alone, not only because they’re living isolated, but because they feel abandoned. If you commit to lift another heart each day, you’ll feel full of peace and purpose.
When this all ends, you’ll be in a stronger and better position not only personally but as a professional photographer as well if you take the time to make something meaningful today.