I have the good fortune of overseeing PFRE and offering articles aimed at improving one’s photography/photography business--all with the goal of improving peoples’ results and elevating the industry as a whole.
However, I’m writing this article from a couple of different perspectives:
Thinking of You!
The very nature of our work--of going into a stranger’s home to take pictures, not knowing what we’re walking into--puts us at risk of coming into contact with the virus. I know that there are those in our community working in countries that are either already on lock-down (i.e., our friends in Italy) or are about to go into lock-down (i.e., Spain and France). To these colleagues, I’m am hoping that the situation in your part of the world improves quickly so that you can all get back to work.
Sharing Your Ideas
For a vast majority of shooters in our field, as self-employed entrepreneurs, our photography is our sole source of income and we rely on photoshoots to pay the mortgage/rent and feed our families. As such, some may not be financially able to take time off until the crisis has passed. So, for those of us who are out in the field every day, I’m urging you to post your ideas and practices on how you’re working through this. It’s my genuine hope that we can help each other by sharing information, so please feel free to note your thoughts in the comments section below. If you’d prefer, please contact me directly by clicking here. I will gather comments that will form the core of future updates/posts.
Some of My Initial Thoughts
It’s my sense that it’s best to take precautions immediately. One of the first ideas that come to mind when trying to avoid this virus was to wear a mask at a shoot but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made it very clear that this is NOT necessary for the general public at this time. That being said, it wouldn't hurt to err on the side of caution as long as it doesn't mean taking masks away from those on the front line who may be in an area with limited supply.
Another option to consider, for those of us who do video and/or use 3D camera technology, is to do extra promotion of those services, so that our agent clients might choose to avoid doing open houses, which will reduce the risk of exposure for people in their marketplace. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have others that you’ve implemented?
From a customer service perspective, I’d imagine that the first thing we should be doing is trying to have a chat with our customers--especially those agent clients who use our services most frequently. One of the fundamental principles of effective relationship management is preempting a concern before it sees the light of day and the best way to do this is to manage client expectations. I also think it’s important to note that the expectations should go the other way, too. We should be highlighting to agents that beyond having the home prepared and tidied for our shoot, we expect them to remind the homeowners to be more diligent in their cleaning. It might also be worth requesting that the homes be vacant for the duration of your shoot.
For those of you who are already under quarantine, I would encourage you to spend your time catching up on some reading related to our craft, listen to podcasts, watch those tutorials that have been sitting on your hard drive, and take care of as much of the administrative work that has piled up while you've been busy in the field over the past few months.
Currently, the Center for Disease Control has posted a great deal of information. I would encourage you to find out more on how to protect yourself from the virus.
Beyond the physical aspects of this pandemic, I would urge you to also consider the emotional and psychological aspects of getting through this difficult time. I recently saw a video on CNN in which a mental health professional shared what I thought was very useful information on maintaining emotional and mental well-being. You'll find it in the video between 6:10 and 19:50. Specifically, it gave some excellent suggestions for: managing one’s stress and anxiety; coping with feelings of isolation; and how to speak to our children about the urgency of this situation, without scaring them.
Once again, let me say that I am thinking of you all and I’m sending out hopeful energy that we get through this pandemic, both fully and quickly. Please take a moment to add a comment or suggestion and please keep your questions coming.
We will be leaving this post up for a few days in the hopes that it will reach as many people as possible, so they can offer their input and advice to the community.