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COVID is casting a long shadow over the wedding photography business

For wedding photographers, the pandemic has hit their business hard. But COVID continues to dramatically affect the landscape of the wedding photography business, even after large events began to make a comeback last year.

The wedding industry has been devastated by the pandemic. Recent studies have shown that most people believe the photography industry is back to normal, but his impact of COVID on event photography, especially weddings, is hard to ignore. It’s not over yet.

San Diego-based Sara France is a highly successful wedding photographer, Sony Artisan of Imagery and mentor for the company’s Alpha Female program.she spoke Petapixel As for the challenges of navigating her wedding business since COVID, but she also works as an educator and instructor, France has seen other wedding photography in the changes the pandemic has brought to the wedding industry. We are in a unique position to describe how the house has adapted.

One of the big differences between the wedding industry in 2019 and the wedding industry in 2022 is who is still filming.

“There is a lot of turnover in photographers. While new photographers enter the industry, many decide they want to do something else,” she says.

France explains that those who decided to stay in business through the pandemic experienced an ever-changing business environment. Photographers have gone from coping with postponements and helping clients during the pandemic (sometimes figuring out how to survive without an active wedding) to now being crushed under the weight of a massive influx of jobs. You have to fight to avoid it. Resume the face-to-face ceremony plan.

Sarah France Photography

“It’s been a huge amount of adjustment and many are still trying to make sense of the new normal. I hope they will come out stronger with better practices and stronger relationships for our business.” ‘ she says.

Those who survived the pandemic are still dealing with what appears to be both a blessing and a curse.

“Last year we did double work on all deferrals [from clients] It was paid in 2020, but we couldn’t have the wedding until 2021 or 2022. So photographers feel overworked and often underpaid,” she says.

“Many photographers are witnessing an unprecedented influx of weddings and need to figure out how to scale and handle volume while they have it.”

Sarah France Photography

Of all the photography disciplines, wedding photographers are typically the most community-focused.Until 2020, national and regional meetings and gatherings were commonplace, but that’s changed.

“The lack of community and face-to-face meetings, combined with the high turnover of photographers, means that many are losing the community they once had,” explains France.

It’s not just a sense of belonging and support that is currently missing. High employee turnover poses a more practical problem.

“The lack of community also makes it difficult to find and hire quality second photographers and assistants,” she says.

The threat of disease looms large

While many act like the pandemic is a thing of the past, wedding photographers are aware of the truth. It’s still a big concern.

“There are also a lot of last-minute changes because people are sick with COVID,” explains France. “We’ve seen wedding reception changes and last-minute adjustments because people have gotten sick, plus there’s a new wave of people pushing wedding vendors to get vaccinated.”

Sarah France Photography

Unsurprisingly, the wedding photographer who used to “strike through” when he was ill was no longer able to do so.

“I’ve had to jump in many times now for people who had COVID and couldn’t film the event,” says France. You need to be prepared, this will not turn your client into a client without a photographer, and your contract should cover this situation.”

Challenge breeds opportunity

While there are challenges that wedding photographers must face, there is an opportunity to succeed and fill the gaps left by those who may have changed careers during the pandemic.

To navigate the various new challenges that wedding photographers face, France says photographers need to keep a few things in mind.

Sarah France Photography

“First, pace yourself,” she says. “Get support and be careful not to overdo it. Outsource when you can. This will help you cope with volume fluctuations.”

In that regard, France says it is important to re-establish a community that is as supportive as possible.

“Take backups. If something happens and you get sick, you need a backup of your photos and your office. My favorite resources are Shoot Dot Edit, Tave, Sony Community, and Gusto,” she said. say.

“Join your community. Everyone is struggling and needs help right now,” says France, and it’s even a good idea to help fellow vendors, especially wedding coordinators.

Sarah France Photography

“If there’s one market that’s struggled even more with this, it’s wedding coordinators. They’ve had to plan the same wedding twice and deal with every problem you can imagine. The more you support others, the more grace they can get when you need help.”

It’s also important to know the value of your wedding photography work now.

“Raise the price,” she says. “Prices need to be at least 10% higher than they were pre-pandemic, not just for inflation.

She also notes that it’s important to be as thorough as possible in communicating with clients.

Sarah France Photography

“Communicate with your clients about your policies and be very open and honest. This can be very helpful if something goes wrong,” France adds. Talk to a fellow photographer to get it, and be sure to put it in writing.”

It’s hard to think of all the pressing situations, she says, but there are some standouts worth considering.

“What if I get sick? What if the wedding needs to be postponed? What happens to their money? Can they use it in the future? How long and how?” ?” she suggests. “Setting time limits and boundaries for things is a great way to manage expectations.”

Sarah France Photography

Losing so many wedding photographers means that clients have a much smaller pool of photographers to choose from. It means that you are in a position

“Now is the time to focus on relationships and marketing. The changing industry is leaving new opportunities everywhere and there has never been a better time to start a business and get up and running quickly,” she said. increase.

France says the consequences of the pandemic aren’t all bad, at least from a business perspective, as long as photographers are prepared and have adequate head space.

“I think there will be good and bad effects from the pandemic. People are more excited about marriage than ever before and appreciate the value of having their loved ones there and together. They are ready to celebrate.” and weddings have a new energy around them,” she says.

Sarah France Photography

“People are more understanding of change and more flexible.


Image credit: Sarah France