Photographer Mike Gatty, Owner of US Event Photos, photographing in Baltimore during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Building your event photography business

Even while stuck at home during COVID-19

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  During this once in a century pandemic, it’s hard not to feel trapped in amber.  Everything. Is. Stopped.  Just as you start to feel normal as you venture out to the big box store, you remember you have to put on your mask, pack your pocket full of hand sanitizing wipes, and go to the bathroom (because, you know, you shouldn’t when you reach the store).


Photographer Mike Gatty, Owner of US Event Photos, photographing in Baltimore during the COVID-19 Pandemic
US Event Photos Owner Mike Gatty shooting stoop photos in his home town of Baltimore Maryland

On Monday I became indignant with Matthew because he insisted it was Monday.  No, I said, it’s Sunday.  I challenged him to go in and look on my computer, down at the date and day stamp in the lower right hand corner.  He did.  It’s Monday, he said smugly.

I felt like I’d been punched.  What happened to Sunday?  What month is it?  June?  July?  Month number four of global Pandemic called Pandemos?  Please

tell me.

For the first month, I caught up on work.  Updated computers, cleaned camera equipment, organized the prop and equipment rooms.  All stuff I swore one day I’d do, and have never had a chance (or inclination) to complete.

The second month we did “stoop photos” — venturing out into our Baltimore neighborhood to capture families in front of their houses, sheltering in place.  Recording history of what life was like during the GREAT PANDEMIC OF 2020.  Last month I worked on revamping our policies of how we’ll respond when work returns, and even wrote a blog post on launching green screen photo booths during COVID-19.  This month?  This month I work out.  Then I circle the couch.  Then I think, “I could watch Tiger King again.”  Then I sit on the couch.  Next thing I know, it’s 11 pm and time for bed. 


The Single Biggest Thing To Work On RIGHT NOW

But here’s the thing: to stay sane, I must work.  And, yes, there is plenty to do.  In fact, stopping and watching endless hours of RuPaul’s Drag Race, seasons 1-10, isn’t good for your business.  Because, while event photography is at a stand still for at least another month or two, other business continues.  If you let your social media presence, web site, or even your cameras sit, it isn’t good for when things return.

Will things return?  Of course, that’s the six million dollar question.  One day, I stare at MSNBC horrified as they predict this could last into 2021.  The next day, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests a vaccine could be created and rolled out by the millions by the end of the year.  Somewhere between the pessimistic and the optimistic is reality.

But while we wait, everything else — besides large event photography — chugs along.  Google announced late last month a core update.  For those of you obsessed with your website’s SEO and search rankings, Google announcing a core update is the equivalent of the NFL announcing the draft.  There are winners and losers and it effects your website one way or the other in potentially dramatic fashion.  Sometimes, with a core update, my website’s search results tank.  This time, the core update benefited my SEO.  By the way, if you don’t track your search results for key words important to your business, you should.  There are a bunch of tools to automate this process — the best I’ve found is based on SEMRUSH and is offered by a company called The Hoth out of Tampa.  Here’s an article they wrote on the May Core Update.

Now is the perfect time to take a look at your web site.  Perfect you SEO.  Organize and track your key words.  Update artwork on your site.  Update your blog.  Refresh everything related to your business.  Now is when you have the time, and one day we’ll all wake up and find events returning in some form or another.  When that happens, people will look for your site — and they better see something current.

US Event Photos was built from the Internet.  We don’t advertise anywhere else.  The Internet has always been the keystone of our business.  That’s probably not exciting to those under 30; but for the rest of us — well, we can remember a time when it was unusual for a business to be completely marketed online.  In fact, we can remember naming our business “A-1 Photography” to be first in the yellow page’s alphabetical listing.  If you don’t know what a yellow pages is, google it.

Now that I’ve got the business stuff out of the way:  HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS?  OMG!  Carol Baskin has been legally awarded Joe Exotic’s Tiger Park.  I must go see if there’s a new episode on Netflix.  I’m SURE Joe is having a hissy fit from jail.  So, everything else must wait.