COVID-19 & Me
Are you even a real business if you don't email your clients to tell them how you're handing the coronavirus?
Hi friend, are you staying sane during this quarantine?
To be honest, this quarantine and "shelter in place" rule hasn't changed for me personally. I already worked from home, we cook at home, and since the majority of my friends live in different states, I don't go out too often. The main difference is that now Paul is always around. I love his company, but he is probably a little bit annoyed of me asking him to go for walks while he's in the middle of a conference call.
However, there have been tremendous changes on the business side of things. I had a stacked spring for weddings and now they're all postponed. Thankfully, all vendors rallied together to find a new date for each couple. I'm sure every vendor is handling these reschedules differently, but here is my official plan:
Tamara Merri Photography's official COVID-19 plan:
1. I've asked couples to stay in contact and have provided them with my availability so we can choose a new date I can still photograph. There are no rescheduling fees.
2. If I am unavailable on the new date, I've recommended my associate shooter program. I would still be their photography company; I am their point of contact and I'll edit the photos, but a different photographer would represent me at their wedding. All associates have their own company and I trust them completely.
3. If they do not like the associate shooter option and would rather find their own replacement, then I will provide them with a cancellation contract. However, they'd lose their non-refundable retainer. Thankfully, no couples have opted for this option.
How COVID-19 is affecting the wedding industry:
My heart is so heavy for so many people. Concentrating on just the wedding industry for now, my heart hurts for all the vendors who are at risk of losing their business: photographers shutting down their studios, catering companies laying off their staff, florists who have wasted product, hair and makeup artists whose salons have to close. While we never had a "steady" income, we no longer have one at all. When there are no weddings happening, we don't get paid.
How COVID-19 is affecting me:
Personally, while I have not lost any money (since no couples have canceled), I still am not earning money. Balance payoffs from my spring weddings won't happen til later this year or next. Plus, people who would be currently planning their 2021 weddings have put planning on hold since they're unable to tour venues. If they DO have a date, some couples have expressed to me that they don't want to move forward yet; "when will this be over?... let's just wait".
However, this predicament has helped me to realize what is important in my life, and in weddings. I've seen couples who just get married in their living room with immediate family, or forgo the big wedding just to be officially married to their love. Which is truly so amazing - since a wedding should be about the marriage. This situation has shown me how important social interaction is, and what we can all accomplish together.
How I'm staying sane during COVID-19:
- Exercise - Lots of walks on the trails behind my house & joining in on live social media workouts
- Education - So many educators are putting out free content! Take this time to learn a new skill.
- Cooking - Dusted off cookbooks to try new things. No more wasting food!
- Reading - Anything to get my mind off of real life when I'm in a downward spiral
- Creativity - making recipe jars, designing a frame wall, photographing my own in-home session
What you can do to help others battling COVID-19:
- Practice social distancing & spreading awareness
- Create masks if you're qualified
- Grocery shop for the elderly or immunocompromised
- Donate to those in need
- Purchase a print from my print store. I am donating 50% of print sales to MGH
What you can do to help me during COVID-19:
1. If you're an existing client and have not yet written a testimonial, please do so
2. Buy a gift card for a future session or for a friend
3. Order prints or an album
4. If you're planning your 2021 wedding, book me!
5. Share my website and social media with everyone (including this post!)