COVID19: Doom & Gloom Or A Fresh Start For Photographers?
Is The Forecast Grey And Cloudy For Photographers
I’m writing this as I’m looking out of my photography studio window waiting for the weather man to be proven right. The forecast this morning isn’t looking good and apparently rain is on it’s way (so much for the good old British summer).
With the rise of COVID19 is this also the forecast for photographers? If you believe everything you read on social media and from what some photographers are saying you could be mistaken for thinking that this is the case, and rightly so.
For many wedding photographers, like myself, over the last few months we have been dreading the phone ringing or emails from clients. I have to admit that it hasn’t been good news with the bookings that I had been looking forward to during the peak season now being postponed until next year. That is of course looking on the brightside, there have also been the ones that have been cancelled all together.
It isn’t just wedding photographers who have been hit hard though. COVID19 kept people in lockdown and closed studios. Almost, the whole industry was affected, either directly or indirectly, by this dreaded Coronavirus.
Embrace The Rain
After a few months of no income and still having to pay not only the business costs (even the government SEISS didn’t even cover the cost of running a business) but also my rent and bills at home, living in the storm was getting desperate.
I wasn’t a ship that had been brought into safe harbour during the storm. I was a little rubber dinghy that had been dragged out to sea and was now being battered by the waves. Bills were adding up and something had to give. I couldn’t just sit in that dinghy waiting for this storm to pass. I had to do something.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
If you have read my article about how I became a photographer you would know that this isn’t the first storm that I have been through. It also won’t be my last. That is the thing about life, it’s one thing that is certain. There is always a storm brewing, somewhere. It’s also the storms that bring promise not the good times. We learn more about ourselves during the hardships than we do when we are comfortable.
Being in a storm is not the time to bury your head and hide away. Living in a storm is an opportunity to get out there, embrace the rain and learn to dance.
Try… Try… And Try Again…
If something doesn’t work the first time don’t give up… Try again. Then keep trying until you get there. Okay, so there is a little caveat that goes with that saying. This only works if you don’t keep doing the same thing.
The idea is that unless you are trying to make things happen, nothing IS going to happen. As a photographer, and in my personal life, I have realised the importance of this. never give up and keep trying something.
Thomas Edison didn’t give up trying to make a lightbulb. As he put it he didn’t fail, he just found 10,000 ways it didn’t work.
I Had A Dream
I have to admit, that when I realised that I was in danger of not only losing the business that I had spent the last 5 years building up but also the flat where I lived, I could have given up. If I continued the way things were, and kept doing the same thing, that is what would have happened. I would have lost everything.
I did have something though. I had a dream that I still clung onto. It was a dream that had been there even before I became a professional photographer. I have always wanted to own my own photography studio. Living in what is known as the ‘golden triangle’ does have it’s disadvantages though and prices have always been way out of my reach.
I have tried before to find somewhere, however, it’s something that until now has always remained just a dream. I have tried asking around and posts on social media but nothing, not even a possibility.
Storms have a habit of mixing things up a bit and forcing your hand.
Given the choice of losing my flat and my business or moving back with the parents I decided to go with the second option. At least that meant I could keep going as a photographer, which was a choice even harder to give up than my flat.
It meant moving away from where I had built up my business though. It was almost like starting again, only without having to work out which end of the camera to look through. Would it be worth all the effort to go back to square one?
Clouds Do Have A Silver Lining
As the discussions started about me moving back to my parents word quickly got around. It was then that the sun began to break and the silver lining started to show.
There was the possibility of there also being a space for a studio available.
Excitedly I went to view it and almost accepted it there and then. It’s not a big space but it just felt right, not just the space but the whole community feel that went with it. No longer would I be sitting for hours on end by myself.
I could also now concentrate on providing headshot and portrait photography.
Was The Studio The Only Silver Lining?
I guess to answer this question we need to go back to how this article began. That forecast of doom and gloom caused by COVID19 that photographers were all to quick to talk about.
Yes, initially as I watched all of my bookings for the summer disappear it would have appeared that the forecast was correct. Without the work though I did have a lot of time on my hands. Time where I could either sit around watching Netflix or NowTV. It was also time where I could develop the business that I had already built.
I could learn new skills, explore new areas and try something creative. I could reach out to my clients and find new ones. I could share my work and get noticed. I had time and I was going to use all of it.
A Word From The Photographer
As it is with my writing sometimes this article didn’t work out the way that I had planned. I had begun writing thinking it was going to be an article about things that photographers can do in this (almost) post COVID19 world.
I will still write that article but you will just have to wait until next time.
If you would like to know when that article has been written simply follow or like me on Facebook as all of my articles get posted there first.
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If you would like to know more about my photography please visit my website www.christopherjameshall.co.uk