Photographers and Videographer Freelancers Among Those Suffering from Covid-19
Knocked Loose | Photo by: Cameron Nunez
With businesses all around us closing and people quarantined to their homes due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it is no surprise that many Americans are losing customers fast. Among these are both photographers and videographers, professionals and amateurs alike.
With the world economy on the edge and a recession starting, photographers and videographers will no doubt be dealing with decreased demand and customers for awhile. Eduardo Ruiz, a photographer from Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has said,
“During this whole pandemic, costs have been slashed and not many people need a content creator anymore. I had gigs lined up for the next two months that have either been canceled or postponed leaving me with hundreds, if not thousands in lost income.”
Sports photographers and videographers were among the first to feel the impact of the pandemic when both amateur and professional sporting events were canceled in attempts to slow the spread of the virus. Wedding photographers no doubt have already begun feeling it with the cancelation and postponed events and decreased client budgets. Even studio photographers that may specialize in headshots or newborn shoots are suffering, as their clients start to suffer financially and want to minimize person to person contact as much as possible.
Spite | Photo by: Eduardo Ruiz
With no clear “return to work” date on the horizon, many photographers and videographers are unsure when things will start to return to normal. One of the few silver linings about this industry, in particular, is the low overhead cost of it all, especially since many photographers and videographers work from home or as a side job. When compared to businesses such as restaurants or retail shops, photographers can stay more flexible by scaling back costs during hard times like these. Photographer & Videographer, Errick Easterday from Louisville, KY also had expressed his thoughts on the issue,
"I’m not sure if there’s really been a silver lining business-wise for me. I’m just kind of sitting around and not making money, sadly. The only thing I can think of is if I learn how to develop my own film and finally finish my book, those things will help me a lot in the long-run. Going through this as an independent contractor is insanely difficult. Having no money coming in, not being able to do my job and provide a service, and having opportunities like my Australian tour taken away are pretty difficult to deal with. I just hope I’m able to make money somehow soon so I don’t completely go under."
Varials Music Video by: Errick Easterday
What Freelancers Can Do Right Now
While this is no doubt a hard time for many right now, there are a few things that many smart photographers and videographers have started doing right now in order to take advantage of these unprecedented circumstances. Eduardo also says,
“To my fellow freelancers, we are not alone, and we will get through this together. Let’s take this time to better ourselves and dive into that new skill you wanted to learn. Instead of pondering on our lost gigs and income, let’s find ways to recoup it, and maximize it once this is all over.”
Greyhaven | Photo by: Errick Easterday
Many have used this unexpected free time to do things like work on their skills from practice and online courses, catch up on post-production projects, improve their website’s SEO and design, run and test Facebook ads, and learn new marketing strategies. The possibilities are endless, and the free time could pay dividends for a business in the long run. Cameron Nunez from Jacksonville, Florida says
"At this point only thing I can do is to hope this pandemic gets under control enough that I can work regularly again but I know I am not the only one feeling the pain in their wallet and left jobless so hard to know what potential clients will exist after all is said and done. The biggest thing I can say is I value my clients and people who have looked out for me like my friend William (aka @wombatfire) as well as Squiggy and a few others in the industry. This business can be cut throat and unforgiving at times but I’m grateful that the connections I’ve made have kept me afloat and that training myself to be skilled in many forms of content creation has held some value. As much as I do complain, I also am well aware that there are a lot of people with bigger losses than me and I am sympathetic to the damage caused but such a crazy situation. You prep for many things as a freelancer but this was something I don’t think anyone could have expected to happen with how rapid this effected everyone. Stay safe, stay healthy and try and keep active so we don’t all go crazy."
VEIN at Epicenter | Video by: Cameron Nunez
Seth Pellum, a freelance photographer also from New Jersey, says,
“I’ve occupied my time with a lot of meditation. My goal in life is to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. To achieve that goal I have to be better than my best so that I can be better for others. Other than meditation, I’ve done a lot of reading and diving deeper into my work.”
Photo by: Seth Pellum
The Covid-19 continues to cause problems and wreak havoc on many industries across the globe, and unfortunately, there is no way to predict when it will end. Many photographers and videographers are struggling with the lack of business, and things like mandatory quarantines will no doubt reshape the industry for some time.
Bart Lentini from Red Bank,NJ is also a photographer going through it as well. A freelancer specializing in photo/video special event coverage has been in business since 2015. Some iconic names as Cyndi Lauper, New Found Glory and The Bouncing Souls to name a few. Bart wanted to leave us with a few words,
"For now I’m holding on. I’ve got to stay positive because as an independent contractor you are you own boss and don’t have someone behind you always telling you what decisions to make. Here in the freelance world it’s already hard to anticipate the future so now more than ever I’m planning my moves carefully. I’ve been concentrating on artistic intention and I’m really not going to worry about gigs, they will come back and when they do.. I’ll be ready. taking the time to slow down and remember why I picked up a camera in the first place is going to be a big part of this quarantine time and I will benefit me in the future."
Video by: Aaron Palmer
Aaron Palmer from Egg Harbor, NJ is an all around go getter when it comes to getting new clients and staying busy while all of this is going down. During this time he has been able to stay afloat with projects stemming over from before the quarantine. Palmer had to say,
“I think everyone needs to get creative real f*cking quick. We also need to be smart. When the world reopens, it’s going to get competitive out there. Clients and bands might not have as much money, so we are going to need to cut more deals and accept that we might not make as much money. Our networking needs to be on point NOW to prepare when that time comes. I just hope we can all help each other out of this. We should promote our own and each others work now more than ever. Offer to help on each others projects. It helps when times are good and it becomes the best thing we can do when times are tough. The reason this year has gone so well for me is because of the help and encouragement of others.“
While the whole world may be a little upside down right now, one thing is for certain: There will always be a need for quality photographers and videographers. Like Seth says,
“I’m not sure how low this will all take for a handshake and a hug to be considered as normal again, let alone someone wanting a photoshoot. Nonetheless, we will come out of this stronger than we were.”