I'm pleased to have received a guest post from regular contributor and PFRE's reigning Photographer of the Year, Garey Gomez, with some wonderful suggestions on how to stay busy during the down-time that many of us are experiencing during the COVID-19 outbreak. While these are certainly stressful times, we must all be diligent in staying focused and productive so that we can hit the ground running when this outbreak is done--and it will be done at some point!
Anyway, my thanks to Garey for this terrific article. I hope you enjoy it!
Who could have ever predicted something like this?
There are the health concerns which is the first thing we think about. But across the world, most businesses are experiencing reduced revenue and closures due to the spread of COVID-19. I can only speak for myself, but my business has been impacted as well. While many businesses are still up and running, at least here in the USA, I suspect it won't be long before most local governments and/or the federal government mandate shutdowns of non-essential businesses. Time will tell...
While I'm bracing for the harsh reality that revenues will be greatly reduced--possibly down to zero--I am trying to make progress in other areas of my business that I often feel too busy to address. Making good, productive use of our new-found free schedule could set us up to hit the ground running when COVID-19 is behind us and business begins to pick back up. In times of stress, I always find comfort in facts and planning. Facts keep us grounded in reality, and planning gives us a playbook as the poop is hitting the fan so we can handle it effectively and with a little bit of grace.
Here are 10 things you can work on while social distancing:
- Practice: shoot your own home. Shoot it at different times of day. You don't need to share the photos with anyone, but if you've been curious about trying a new technique, here's your chance to get it down.
- Shoot for your portfolio, or for pleasure: Is there something you've been dying to photograph but haven't had the time? Well, go out and do it (by yourself, for goodness sake! And bring hand sanitizer!).
- Work on your marketing: Put together a list of targeted clients that you want to work with; create or dial in your pitch; make the calls, send the emails. This will set you up to be top-of-mind, and maybe even pick up a few new clients when business picks back up.
- Education: Have you been thinking about taking a course? Buying a tutorial? Maybe you have one or two that you have bought but have not watched yet. Or maybe you're due for a refresher and want to watch one again. Do it now, then refer to #1 above. Also, if you are interested in Mastering Real Estate Photography or Tony Colangelo's The Art & Science of Great Composition, Tony and I decided to offer discounts through the end of April. Use the discount code APRIL2020 at checkout to receive $30 off my course, and $20 off Tony's.
- Update your website: We are shooting so much that there is little time to make updates to your website. Now might be a good time to update it with your newest, best work. As a bonus, if you've been working on your craft and have seen improvements in the quality of your work, then it's especially helpful to remove those older photos that don't quite hold up to your current quality of work! I get a real kick out of that, personally. See Tony Colangelo's article from June, 2019 on the topic of updating your website HERE.
- Backup your photos: Do you have a solid backup plan in place? If not, do it now before it's too late. I recommend the 3-2-1 backup strategy, outlined HERE. I have my working drives, as well as a daily backup onto a carbon copy. That makes two copies of ALL of my data, right here at my desk. Then I use Backblaze for constant cloud backup. It's really cheap, and honestly a no-brainer. No matter what happens to any of my data, I am covered. You should be, too.
- Register your photos with the Copyright Office (in the US... your local process might be different if you live outside the US). This is something I regrettably put off for too long. Now I am 100% registered, and I am pursuing several cases. It feels good to be protected! The process isn't very streamlined, but it is not difficult to do. My first registration was a bit of a learning curve but now it's really easy. Mike Boatman has contributed a few excellent articles here on PFRE in recent months explaining the benefits of registering your work. Go read them if you haven't.
- Clean and organize your office space: I'm not the tidiest guy when it comes to my office space. Things pile up... What I really need is a new habit of dealing with the "stuff" as it comes in, rather than waiting to be surrounded by "stuff" to the point of clutter. Anyway, I feel pretty great when I clean my desk and it's incredible how much more productive I tend to be when the clutter has been eliminated!
- Call your mom.
- Wash your hands.
Please be safe out there. Take care of yourselves and each other so we can put this all behind us as quickly as possible and get back to doing what we love.
Garey Gomez is an architectural photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a three-time PFRE Photographer of the Month, and the creator of the Mastering Real Estate Photography tutorial series.