Covid-19: The Impact on Wedding Photographers & the Industry

Published by Sam, Editor -
Covid-19: The Impact on Wedding Photographers & the Industry

Coronavirus has effected everyone and had an impact on many industries including the events and wedding sectors. With uncertainty as we enter what would be peak wedding season things are on hold.

We get the views from some of our members and professional wedding photographers on how they are coping, how they are using this time now and what they think the future holds for the wedding industry.

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
While there is a lot of uncertainty around the wedding industry at the moment, particularly with 2020 weddings, I’m doing my best to be as accommodating and helpful as possible. If any of my couples need to rearrange their days due to the current situation them I’m happy to book in their new date. We’re all staying in touch which has helped tremendously when booking new dates.

I’ve also had enquiries from couples who aren’t getting married until 2021 and beyond. The booking process has altered slightly in that it’s now all online rather than face to face, but through video calls we’re still able to chat about their day, get excited for their wedding and talk about what they need from their photography too. It’s been a learning curve for all of us!

How are you using this time business wise and personally?
There is a lot of behind the scenes work when it comes to websites and online presence. I’m using this time to get my website completely up to date and update some things I haven’t had time for before now. I’m also doing a couple of online courses to improve my business overall.

From a personal perspective I’m definitely reading more than I ever did, and I’d hope my cooking skills have improved by now as well.

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
This is a tricky one to answer. With couples, I think that there’ll be two trends running side by side. First we’ll see a rise in engagements when we come out of lockdown, and second, the wedding dates will be closer than we’ve seen previously. I’m expecting more enquiries for weddings taking place in the same year than I’ve ever had before. Whether that becomes a lasting trend or not is hard to say.

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
Generally speaking, I expected it would be worse with the cancellations and delays. In fact, most of our weddings have been rescheduled for Autumn 2020 or next year.

Being honest, I have not had any issues with the couples and helped them to deal with the circumstances. I put myself into their shoes and tried to be as flexible as possible.

How are you using this time business wise and personally?
My lockdown was definitely for better. I couldn’t imagine having so much time just to rethink, “retouch” and restart my photography. I have finally had a chance to complete three online courses on colour editing, facial retouch, study “fine art” techniques, upgrade my technical kit.

I finally managed to upgrade my website, sort out the files and do some admin work that had been constantly put off “until the better days”. Personally, I have discovered some new skills: I baked a danish-style bread, successfully planted tomatoes and sunflowers seeds in the garden and started painting landscapes with oil.

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
I believe this crisis will push couples to have more intimate (smaller) weddings, which will become a trend in the next several years. Many will even prefer secret elopements. Therefore, the number of engagement and elopement-style photo sessions will be dominating over “classic” wedding photoshoots.

Autumn might become a popular season for weddings (especially abroad) after brides will see pinterest inspiration from this year. Obviously, destination weddings will be affected as many couples will opt to have a local ceremony and celebration to avoid travel issues and unpredictable travel costs.

Mona Ali Photography

West Sussex & London | Will Travel | View Website

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
Spring is usually the time I update my portfolio & plan my marketing etc – I’m doing all that at a slower pace as well as designing a lovely new website, so I am keeping fairly busy.

My couples have been absolutely incredible during this crisis – all of my spring and most of my summer weddings have now been postponed and we’re hoping to potentially start shooting again in the autumn if restrictions are lifted and it’s safe.

Naturally, my couples are hugely disappointed that their weddings are not going to go ahead anytime soon, but we’re all in the same boat right now and staying in touch and being supportive has really helped.

How are you using this time business wise and personally?
I’m using this time to do all the things on my long to do list -doing on-line training, reading up about techniques, attending critique sessions in different photography communities, as well as continuing to blog and develop my business. I’m also doing lots of crafty things like pottery and lots more cooking, baking and trying out some new vegan recipes!

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
It’s hard to say how this going to affect the industry as a whole, but the most obvious thing for me as a photographer is that we’re going to potentially lose a lot of income as we’re spreading this year’s weddings/ income over two years, which will restrict the level of new business we can book in for 2021.

I think smaller weddings will be on the cards now, rather than big lavish affairs, and there’s definitely been a trend in couples wanting to tie the knot in a small intimate ceremony as soon as they can, and having that big party to celebrate later. Couples are realising that having each other and committing to each other now is more important than the big wedding they’d originally planned. Love always wins!

Atken Photography

Yorkshire | Will Travel | View Website

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
Currently offering all the support I can via email and phone calls, including the best advice I can give at this moment. Checking in with them and when it does come to postponing we make sure all suppliers can re-align their schedules.

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
In the short term (rest of this year and possible next) it is and will be strange, those suppliers who are financially ready for rainy days will be ok, others may be forced into looking at other avenues of work either employment or self-employment.

Social distancing may be needed for a long time to come so venues will be hardest hit as it will be difficult to organise this.

But I’m confident that once we get to grips with this new way of thinking we can successfully manage it and going forward eventually back to what we consider normal, but normal is a long way off.

Simon Biffen Photography

Bath, Somerset | Will Travel | View Website

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
It has obviously been a really difficult and stressful for time for couples who have had to postpone their wedding day, I have been working hard to find alternative dates at no extra cost for those who have re-scheduled and at least they can step back from things for now and ease some of that worry. Those few weddings I was unable to cover I have assigned an Associate photographer to shoot the day as replacement for me and I do the editing.

How are you using this time business wise and personally?
I have been going though the archives and blogging lots of new weddings I never got round to showing before. I’ve been collaborating with other suppliers to create useful tips and advice articles and also creating wedding venue landing pages I’ve been working on putting out more content on my family and couple brand themomentsthatmatter.co (subjects like these will hopefully be ok to shoot before weddings are).

As well as work I have been keeping fit and I’m very happy I turned my garage into a home gym a few years ago! It has also been a really nice to have so much time to spend with my wife and two year old, my arts and craft skills have definitely improved!

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
In the short term (think weddings in the next 3-9 months) couples are likely to have to adapt their original wedding plans, this may mean fewer guests, social distancing rules and perhaps even wearing of face masks… that last one would be a really difficult hurdle photography wise and I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Beyond a year I think that most weddings will be back to normal, couples will still be looking for awesome suppliers to make their once in a lifetime day as magical and memorable as they deserve it to be.

Linas Tolkus Photography

Brighton | Will Travel | View Website

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
I’m trying to keep the couples for the next season, trying not to cancel any weddings, however, some dates are clashing so will have to let them go unfortunately. Trying to stay in contact with everyone and see it from their perspective as wel..

How are you using this time business wise and personally?
I think it is a great chance to improve my website and other social platforms, as the traffic on them is slower than usual so it is a good chance to show your best work. Personally- i am happy to spend more time with family, happy to be outdoors and test out my newest lens.

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
I think it will have impact for at least 2-3 seasons. I think couples will be more careful, will pay more attention into contract and refund policy. I think the bookings will still be coming, but will not be as many as we are used to.

MIKI Studios

Derbyshire | Will Travel | View Website

 

How are you coping with the situation and managing your couples?
Covid 19 is hitting everyone young and old, across every industry which is totally unprecedented. Most crises don’t impact in the way Covid 19 has across the World. That means we are truly ‘all in this together’.

Right from the outset, our couples are being impacted as much (or even more) in most cases than us. Meaning everyone seems to be really supportive, considerate and helpful to each other.

We are not going into conversations on the attack or defence. We have been totally open with our couples and we believe we have gone above and beyond to make the whole situation as easy as possible for everyone. 95% of all our communication has been over the phone and not behind email. Every one of our couples has appreciated that we have taken the lead on open and honest communication.

How are you using this time business-wise and personally?
This is the time to get your house (or business) in order. Whether that is accounting, branding, website, SEO etc.

This is not the time to take your foot off the gas and sit and mope about how the government should or shouldn’t have down things differently. Businesses that use this time to get an advantage on their competitors no matter how small will come out of this situation better and more prepared to hit the ground running. For us, we are still working as hard, if not harder than ever.

We are focusing on the things we can impact like on the back end of the website, branding and improving the areas of the business most people won’t see (other than our couples) on making our couples experience the best we can. SEO is a long game so the benefits won’t be seen for months to come but it’s like planting seeds, you can’t expect crops to grow if you don’t plant them and water them frequently.

How do you think this will affect the wedding industry going forward?
This is a very dramatic short term hit, there is no doubt about it. However, the probability is the economy and the wedding industry will bounce back pretty quickly (12 months or so), the same amount of people will still get married and still want the part of their lives!

We will lose great companies in the industry along the way which is very unfortunate and sad, but those that survive will be stronger and more resilient. Things that will change in the short term is companies trying to protect themselves from being in this situation again, whether that’s larger deposits or requesting full payment earlier but in the medium term, we will probably all start to forget what this felt like and the pendulum will swing back to a more ‘normal’ position.

Staying Proactive

While wedding season maybe on hold, it is important to stay proactive and use this unexpected time to work on area you may have put on hold, from website redesign, to blogging recent weddings or reviewing your marketing.

Check out our recent article – Proactive Steps For Photographers During this Unsettled Time.

Say safe and thank you to all the photographers that contributed to this article.

2 Comments

  1. Chris

    Thank you for this article, interesting to hear other thoughts. I think next year will be a big year, it is just ensuring we can all get through this one first. Cancellations and having to give refunds on deposits is certainly a concern but will do all I can to rearrange.

    Reply
  2. Jeff Sham Photography

    Thanks for the article. Interesting to hear thoughts from other wedding photographers. It’s difficult times, but if we can get through it (cashflow will be tight for many of us with postponements and cancellations through the peak of the wedding season), we should see a strong latter half of the year and into next year.

    Reply

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