Being a photographer during and after COVID-19 lockdown

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As a marketing agency focused on digital services for services companies and to celebrate the success of women entrepreneurs we invited fours photographers to share that being a photographer during a pandemic can be challenging but it can also bring some insights and innovations to the business.

Lockdown is not over yet in many parts of the world and the photography sector had a huge impact due to COVID-19 as it is not an essential service and is necessary physical contact many photographers had to shut down their business for several months.

Well, this is a reality for many other areas as well so we decided to share their stories to inspire other entrepreneurs to help with their insights.

But first, let me introduce our fours guests:

  1. Wedding and family photography with Emmylie Cruz
  2. Branding photography and video marketing with Luiza Soares
  3. Newborn and maternity with Anna Flavia
  4. Boudoir and Female Portrait with Waneka Valois

Enjoy the reading!

1. Wedding photography with Emmylie Strokes

My name is Emmylie Cruz and I am originally from Boa Vista in Roraima – Brazil. I graduated with a law degree but photography had always been a passion.
I started learning photography by myself and started doing small photoshoots with friends and family members to practice.
I moved to Ireland to improve my English and photography skills. I met Richard – my now-husband –  at the end of my first year in Dublin and decide to stay a little longer.  It’s been almost 9 years now.

What is your photography niche and why?

I do weddings (www.wonderandmagic.ie) & family photography (www.emmyliecruz.com).
At the end of my photography course, my teacher recommended me to a couple who was getting married and that’s how I got to photograph my first wedding.
I always loved weddings and used to watch lots tv shows about it like ‘say yes to the dress’, ‘don’t tell the bride’… etc.
Wedding days are full of emotions and I feel honoured to capture one of the couple’s most special days. I absolutely love what I do.

What are the struggles since the begin of the pandemic?

Keep a positive mindset. With weddings still being postponed, it’s hard not to feel deflated sometimes.

And how have you managed these problems?

Focusing on things I can control. Now that I have more time in my hands I am seeing this as an opportunity to work & organise what I can about the business. I want to have a better workflow so that I can improve the experience I give to my clients.

Does any change have this situation brought to your business?

I started automatizing a few things on my process and we now have an online store linked on our website so that clients can buy vouchers and other products more easily.
It’s all about making my life and most importantly my clients’ lives easier.

Some changes will be forever…what do you think has changed in your business due to the pandemic?

Mindset. Focusing on what I can control will definitely be something I’ll try to keep in mind from now on. It definitely helps to control our anxiety when things seem difficult.
We should focus our energy on things that will help to solve the problem, instead of worrying about things we have no control of.

Here some of the amazing pictures from Emmylie but you can view more of the wedding photography here and family photography here.

2. Branding photography and video marketing with Luiza Soares

My name is Luiza Soares, I’m 29 years old, and I’m a photographer and videographer for brands. Despite being born in Portugal, I lived all my childhood in Salvador in Brazil and at the age of 18, I went to São Paulo to study communication and multimedia at PUC. At the time it was a new course that dealt a lot with digital communication and interaction in a strange thing that, for some reason, became popular and is currently called “social networks”. However, I have always leaned towards the image side, and I was able to expand this knowledge during a year that I was studying in the cinema department of NYU. After that, joining the focus on digital communication, the filming techniques took place in a natural way, and with photography, it was no different. I’m currently living in Lisbon for 2 years, working independently, helping entrepreneurs and local businesses to improve their digital image.

Why have you decided to work with branding photography?

It is a segment relatively new, whose main objective is to assist small businesses, or brands to improve their positioning, in terms of communication, and to sell more.
I chose that because I always worked for companies that couldn’t do it effectively direct sales, so I already had and enjoyed the experience of dealing with communication in a more horizontal way. In addition, small businesses and
solo entrepreneurs have always enchanted me in the sense that behind the project there always a dreamer, a real story, greater willpower that goes beyond profit for profit.
I wanted to give these people a voice, help their businesses grow and tell their narratives.

What are the struggles of being a photographer and facing a pandemic like this?

Here I need to be 100% sincere and say that in terms of business, and bookings, I didn’t have so many difficulties. In fact, the reverse effect happened. As soon as the first lockdown I had a lot of demand, I believe that because people see each other without any option other than digital. If a good image was “cool” before, now it was mandatory to pass professionalism and win customers. The great difficulty was dealing with the expectations of the customers in terms of the result that the photos would bring in your sale. Once the image work goes “hand in hand” with the text, branding and digital presence, a good photo is not enough to guarantee that you will achieve your goals. This is something that remains difficult to manage for some customers who arrive, and are too “young” in the universe of online entrepreneurship.

Another difficulty that I can point out has to do with the stigma that is associated with the type of photo I take. Many people, especially when it comes to personal branding that is my biggest audience, associate brand photography as something that should be “cold”, “Tough”, almost corporate. They want photos in suits, working and using their cell phones. Nothing wrong with that, and these photos have their role, but these are not the photos that stop
the “scroll effect” and grab memory. In the beginning, I had a lot of difficulties making the audience
realize that to have a unique image, associated with the personality of your brand, it is required to be unique! And for that, you have to get out of the box a little bit and let yourself be a little creative also. Now I feel that this is already more accepted, as people get tired to always see the same things on the networks.

And how have you diverted from these problems?

Partnering with other professionals in the field of communication and digital marketing has been a good way to get around this difficulty. When I realize that the customer needs other services, after or even before conducting a session, refer to a professional who can help them. Furthermore, I dedicate a lot of my networks to customer education, that way I can make the content that I produce an asset and it helps companies to grow.
Regarding the more creative photo style, I bet on taking this more to the public as part of my personal style of work. At first, I was afraid of the reaction but ended up having a positive effect, when they come to me they do it knowing that I will propose different things and that is exactly why they want to work with me.

Any innovation or improvement that this situation brought to your business?

I don’t know if it fits “innovation” properly, but something that changed a lot was the way that I see myself not as a “freelancer” but as a business. I literally like an employee of my company. Since I am an employee, I need to receive even in extraordinary situations where I cannot do the job. This time there was social detachment, but since my job depends on me being well physically to make it happen, I realized that I need to find income alternatives and currently this is what I’m working on.

Here is some of the incredible work of Luiza and you can learn more about her branding photography

3. Newborn and maternity with Anna Flavia

Tell us a bit about you and your photography style.

My name is Anna Flavia. I am a photographer specializing in newborn photography. I am based in Dublin and travel across Ireland capturing special moments from motherhood to birth and so on, during childhood. I am constantly learning, improving and honing my skills through courses and workshops with world-renowned photographers.

6 years ago when I started photography and explored several areas. And with all the experience I had, the one I most identified with was newborn and family photography. It brings me satisfaction to register in a unique way remarkable and emotional moments of families, combining technique, sensitivity, keen eye, love and technology.

How the pandemic affected your work?

After so many years of working daily with something that I like, I had to close the studio and follow the restrictions recommendations. It was not bad only because of the financial aspect, but also the drastic change in my routine and the deprivation of an activity that is often somewhat therapeutic is been a bit hard to cope.

And what have done to keep your mind busy?

Exploring new ideas, preparing new materials, creating new projects and sessions. Improving my style and my creative side looking for new techniques watching many online courses help me to prepare for a new post-lockdown phase.

Any change occurred because you have more time at home?

This new reality gave me time to improve the company’s internal processes. financial, strategic and etc … I was also able to focus time on creating my own props and scenarios used in sessions.

Some changes will be forever…what do you think has changed in your business due to the pandemic?

Being a newborn photographer and creating a safe environment for the kids was always in my mind. We have everything super as clean and maintained as possible to the whole family, but now due to restrictions, care has been doubled before and after each session, such as the use of a mask, sterilization of equipment and all materials used during the session, shoe protection and so on.

Here are some of the cutest photos that Anna Flavia shared with us but you can view more newborn photography here

4. Being a Boudoir photographer and Female Portrait with Waneka Valois

What is your photography niche and why?

My name is Waneska Valois, I am a photographer with more than 11 years of experience. I’ve done a bit of everything, but today I am specialised and focus on Boudoir photography, a beautiful and powerful experience for women. I am Brazilian and have been living abroad since 2008, 12+ years of new experiences and contact with new cultures. I have
a degree in Marketing, but my real passion is Photography, especially photography as a tool to empower women.

Why boudoir photography?

As a teen, I suffered from anorexia, so I know first hand how women’s mind can play a trick on us. With Boudoir Photography I can help women to see what they can’t. I show them how beautiful they are. It is like giving them an opportunity to take a fresh and empowering look at themselves.

What are the struggles of being a photographer during a pandemic?

In my case, the service I offer is in person and it was totally stopped.
To save the business I had to give up my studio and I had to rethink my whole way of working. I create few plans, I hade A B C plans depending on how everything developed throughout the year. But I think my biggest difficulty was keeping positive and never giving up.  It is all about the mindset.

And how have you diverted from these problems?

Like everyone else I had to work my mindset so I wouldn’t go crazy. I was forced to do a lot of self-growth which will help me for the rest of my life, especially looking for the best thing out of a bad situation, I used to do it already, but now I am a master at it.

One thing that helped me a lot in the first few months of the Pandemic, during the more strict lockdown, I was offering a virtual session for women as a way to keep myself busy and also be in contact with my clients. It was great! We had 1hr of focussing on something else besides the bad news. It was quite important for my mental health.

Any innovation or improvement that this situation brought to your business?

This pandemic showed that no business can rely on 1 thing (service, product, item, etc) The business needs to be able to adapt and have more than one stream of revenue. So with that in mind, I started thinking of new ways of doing business and getting out of the ‘photography box’.
I started looking at other possibilities and way to improve my brand with new partnerships.

One example,  I created a Boutique to sell products that have a connection with my brand and photography. All products are sourced locally (made in Ireland) from women lead businesses. This Boutique gives me another stream of revenue and also gives me an opportunity to help other women by helping their business. It also creates a community
around my brand which increases its value and visibility.

Some changes might be forever…what do you think has changed due to the pandemic?

During this pandemic people realised we are all connected and being alone or fighting with your competitors is not a good strategy. We are all interdependent, as human being, we need contact (not only physical) to survive, so I really believe that the sense of community and connection is here to stay.

Here some of gorgeous Waneska’s work and you can view more of her boudoir photography here

Hope you enjoyed the reading Being a Photographer during and after the pandemic. Feel free to share your comments and stories of how your business is dealing with the pandemic impact.

If you have a business you might like to read: 5 ways to promote your business online for free.

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