CORVID-19 and Event Photography

This is a blog about the business of event photography.  However, as I write this, the business of
event photography – worldwide – is dead.
Put a fork in it.
It’s not just dead. 
It’s really, really, really dead.
Of course, since CORVID-19 pandemic hit worldwide, events
are dead.  Travel is dead.  The hotels industry is dead.  The restaurant industry is dead.  And the list goes on.  And on. 
And on more than you can even begin to contemplate.  EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD IS
HURT.  Even your corner drug dealer is in
trouble.  No, really.  Apparently, Mexican drug cartels are having
trouble getting lab supplies from China – so they’ve hike prices on your nearby
street dealer. 
I can’t make this up.
I’m not going to pretend to tell you how to salvage your
business.  I’m not going to write advice
about how to occupy your time as your family is squashed into your home.  I’m not going to pretend I’m not really,
really, really worried about how long this will last.  And when, or if, it will ever come back.
No, I’m not going to write about that.
Photographer Mike Gatty with a large group of participants
 at a Boston green screen photo booth.
Because business will come back.  This will end, like every other crisis that’s
ever hit, and when it does the business spigot will go from wrenched tight to
fully open. 
I started my morning by reading CNN on my iPad, the way I’ve
started every morning since I bought my first iPad.  This morning, the reporter posed the
question:  how do you know when to
re-tool your business?  How do you know
if your business will ever return?  Maybe
you should change what you do now?
And I thought:  OH MY
GOD OH MY GOD MY BUSINESS IS OVER… And that mantra continued until my shower.
Then I realized:  this
is a whole industry, and whole industries don’t disappear because of
disease.  They don’t disappear at
all.  Let’s take books when Amazon invented
the Kindle.  True, most bookstores
tanked.  That’s an industry.  But publishers changed their distribution
platforms and royalty fees to digital; and authors still write.  Books are still read.  People still make money on books.  Just – differently.  Innovation changed the industry, but the
industry didn’t go away.   
Events aren’t going anywhere.  Business will always need to get together,
face to face and have a conference. 
Sports teams will always play games, and fans will always attend.  New products will always emerge; and business
will always need to market their new innovations and services.  Experiential
photo marketing
and utilizing green screen
photo booths
to promote products isn’t going anywhere.  Though it might get tweaked. 
Corporate headshot photography services may return to
normal faster than other event photography.

The shape of things may change.  It might be a while before massive large
conventions start back up.  It may be a
while before people want to be super close to each other. 
You, my fellow event professional, must change, too.  Look at those parts of your business that are
CORVID-19 friendly and start thinking about how to build on those areas.  Think of restaurants: people might not want
to eat in for the next while, so expand your delivery.  Obvious. 
Events aren’t going to be large for a while, promote those parts of your
business that cater to individual offices, or smaller groups – sections of your
enterprise that might come back quicker. 
Be ready to tweak your marketing to focus on those services.  They’ll get you through until things return
to normal.
For us, US Event Photos will focus on corporate
headshot photography
.  I’m guessing
our convention
headshot photo booths
might come back quicker than typical green screen, so
I’m working on tooling those services up. 
After all, it’s more CORVID-19 friendly to take individual headshots
than it is photograph giant groups of people in front of a green screen.  Probably you’ll be able to head to smaller
offices and perform photography services – like corporate
– sooner than you’ll be able to be at a massive event shooting
crowds of people.
That said, Matthew and I are working on developing new
CORVID-19 friendly green
screen photography
practices.  Stay tuned.
This is a time to take a giant breath.  Update your web sites, tweak your
services.  Organize equipment.  Look at government programs – like through
the CARES ACT – that might help you weather the storm. 
Do not give up. 
Everyday wake up and think — what can I do to position myself for
success when things start to return to normal. 
That’s my advice.  I
may need to reread my own words, repeatedly, to keep my blood pressure
down.  Because event photography isn’t
dead.  Not really.  It’s just in suspended animation.