For many Wedding Photographers, 2020 was a year of wild challenges. According to The Knot, 96% of couples have had to postpone and reorganize their wedding for a later date in the year due to Covid. For vendors such as myself, this kind of hiccup to the $78 billion wedding industry has, of course, had a bearing on business.
But I’m a creative. And like many creatives I know, this year has been an opportunity to adapt, grow and stretch in new directions. It has been an opportunity to embrace malleability and learn how to go-with-the-flow and see my business thrive in new ways!
Here are some of the top ways that my business has adapted to the 2020 climate:
1. Focusing Even More on Client Relationships
2020 was the year that I learned the power of meaningful client relationships. With last-minute changes and cancellations, I learned how to thrive on flexibility, in order to give my loudest ‘YES’ to my clients’ needs and stay agile and optimistic while working with brides and grooms who were processing their own disappointments around their dream day.
HoneyBook has been my secret weapon. Not only was their coronavirus resource hub for small business a hugely helpful resource, but the efficiency of their scheduling software helped me to stay adaptable and organized while processing through a flurry of changes.
HoneyBook made me look good! I was able to stay on the ball and attentive to any changes in dates, venue, timings, and locations that my clients threw at me – without dropping a ball!
2. Creative Pivots
One of the most rewarding facets of this creative season has been learning how to adjust on the fly, to suit a new vision! While an initial client briefing might have included a stunning reception with 350 guests and a decadent ballroom, the reality of most of the 2020 weddings I shot, was that they were intimate elopements.
This required me to creatively pivot. To change gear. And to embrace the new challenges in front of me. It required me to lean out of my comfort zone and find pleasure in creative surprises. It taught me to explore, and push the boundaries of elopement photography.
While the venues closed their doors, some adventurous brides and grooms opened their hearts to whole new adventures. Together we scaled the summit of Enchanted Rock for a stunning couples portrait. We reminisced in the simplicity of backyard weddings and toasted to the nostalgia found in that simplicity. We took to the streets and let Austin flaunt herself as the backdrop to our elopement portraits.
3. Back To My Roots
In an unexpected, but sweet, turn of events, I got to revisit my roots as a street photographer. I created a new Instagram account and found fresh joy in taking my cameras for a spin around ATX. I got to showcase a different side of my passion for my audience and share my versatility with potential future clients.
4. I Fell Back in Love With Styled Shoots
2020 will be remembered as the year that I fell back in love with styled shoots. Mid-pandemic, the sense of community and connection between the creatives in the city was tangible. While work felt shaky, the desire to express ourselves through our art was palpable. Styled shoots became the medium through which we were able to collaborate.
As a wedding photographer, I’ve always regarded styled shoots as an excellent means to gather content for my portfolio and social channels. I run an annual retreat workshop, The Southen Love Workshop, where we gather talented young photographers together for an immersive weekend of shooting, seminars, and community time, rooted in the desire to hone our skills and develop connections in the photography community. Styled shoots have always been a vital element of these weekends.
But, in spite of that, this year, my appreciation for styled shoots as taken on a whole new dimension. 2020 is the year that I’ve learned what it looks like to rally together with friends who are hungry to bring our creative passion to life, even in the midst of unruly circumstances. Styled shoots have been a slice of make-believe – a chance for us to conjure dreams of our wildest wedding shoots – and make them a small-scale reality!
Looking to 2021
With our winter Southen Love Workshop fast approaching, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to gather, once again, with a community of like-minded individuals. I’m excited to keep pushing to the limits of my craft and find time to let my photography fly, amid the business of life.