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How Has The Coronavirus Affected Your Business

As of March 14th, everything in the United States has changed. Within just a few days the economy has ground to a halt and it's taken the majority of photo/video jobs with it. 

Most of my friends in real life are photographers and I have literally thousands of Facebook friends in the industry as well. Everyone is saying the same thing; all of the jobs have been postponed or canceled and no new jobs are coming in. Once the virus is under control in a few weeks/months will everything simply go back to the way it was before or are we heading into the next big recession? 

I'd like to know what you think. Below, I've come up with a few simple questions for you to answer. 

In the comment section below, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Where do you live, what is the photo/video market doing in your area? Does anyone have any new work coming in? How long can you ride this out and when do you expect this to be over? 

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135 Comments

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Lawrence S's picture

"The News" is currently a mix of reporting on moronic behaviour of others but at the same time informing about how things are going in other regions and what measures help and do nothing. If you block out the news, people also miss out on really important facts.

How people react and behave is a lot more significant than "The News". Lots of bullshit fake news on social media also. Just saw an article of people in India believing that their traditional practice of consuming cow urine and dung can prevent and cure COVID-19.

David Love's picture

I just installed a chrome app called good news that lets you remove words from the news feed. Added coronavirus and now apparently there is not much newsworthy out there. I don't care if one person got sick in Kansas. Reminds me of hurricane season when you see a reporter standing next to a puddle talking about how it's getting deeper because they had run out of fear inducing material. There is so much ratings targeted stuff going out that it's hard to get the true updated facts.

Scare everyone to buy up everything at stores and bam, now they have a new story about greedy paranoid people buying up everything. I don't want to see it.

Lawrence S's picture

It's that kind of reasoning that made the virus boom in Italy. A first world country, now working and threating victims as a third world country because they can't handle the load. I don't get the analogy with a hurricane. Hurricanes are not contagious.

You know, there is also an option to follow the (real) news and not panic nor go out and buy everything. Blocking everything seems like a panic reaction.

David Love's picture

What is the news going to tell me? Wash my hands when it's an airborne virus? That someone I don't know in some place I'm not at, is sick? We will all eventually get sick from it. Questions should be on treatment, vaccine rather than scaring people into buying up hand cleaners and toilet paper. The news did that. All the water is being bought as if the virus drinks all our water. The news did that. Their fear mongering does more harm than good and yes, like a hurricane coming, they are treating the virus like it's a category 5 racing towards us to end us all. So go buy that food, water, empty gas stations and for god's sake, keep watching those news ads!

Lawrence S's picture

Let me tackle this clusterf*ck of a comment:

1/ Airborne? It's not airborne. It's a "droplet" virus. This means it can be transmitted by small respiratory droplets that become aerosolized when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Healthy people who are near can inhale the infectious droplets, or the droplets can land on their eyes, nose and mouth. That's not airborne at all. It's not flying around in a cloud, infecting people randomly and "you can't do anything about it".

2/ "We will eventually all get sick." So that's it, just give up, let the virus spread itself and kill off 10% of the population? Mostly the weaker and elderly? You say it like it's a choice you make, like what kind of milk you buy. People are staying indoors and only going out when absolutely necessary in Europe. Why? Because the lives of their grandparents or other people's granddad or teenager daughter with astma is more important than going to McDonalds or drinking a beer.

3/"Questions should be on treatment, vaccine rather than scaring people into buying up hand cleaners and toilet paper."
Questions and topics should PRIMARILY be prevention and containment. And measures taken accordingly. That's the most important phase. If that faills, it's out of control. All hospitals in the world can't threat tens of millions of sick people all at the same time. That's not that hard to understand. And every infected person spreads the virus to around three people. Do the math for the coming days, weeks and months. The POINT of all the warnings and measures are to prevent that a large majority of people get sick in a very SHORT time. This will make every health care system crash in every country. Yes, almost everybody will get sick - the prognoses now is about 70-80%. But if you listen to what the people who actually know, have to say, the total infection rate can be spread. That's called "flatten the curve".
I'll give you one thing: nobody should be buying toiletpaper or water. That's moronic. I haven't said otherwise. This takes me to the next point:

4/ You obviously watch or read the wrong news sources, if that is what you are picking up. That's your own responsibility, don't blame the people actually informing the public - the ones housed at the reliable news sources. Doctors, virologists, independent news sources. It's not because the USA has to live with a misinforming polarized media landscape, that other countries don't have a reliable independent (public) broadcast or people speaking up and saying the truth. Without fear of get lynched because they might cause some stocks & shares to go down.

David Love's picture

Thanks for making my point "wrong news sources." That's all anyone sees. You can continue your trolling now.

Lawrence S's picture

You clearly have no idea what trolling means. You're either 13 years old or 60+

David Love's picture

Trolling - Joins photography site but doesn't post photography work. Hangs out in comments all day talking smack.

Lawrence S's picture

So like basically the majority of every photo website comment section? I don't feel to need to show my work on this site. But you failed to point out the "smack" with counter facts and just reverted to ad hominem comments, which makes you lose credibility instantly.

You know almost every country is going in lockdown, right? New York is taking the same precautions. So while I have been pointing this out from the start, reality is catching up. When are you going to admit reality?

David Love's picture

Can't respond right now. Busy actually doing photography work and running my business. You should try it some time.

Lawrence S's picture

Again, ad hominem.

And to respond to your childlike remark about photography work. Really? You really missed the fact that this article and all comments are talking about photographers loosing work and income for weeks because of Covid19 and the complete lockdown of our countries. Really mature. You're not only blind for the reality and the consequences, but a fulltime asshole spitting in the face of every fellow photographer going through difficult times and burying family members in the proces.

Someone with a successful business doesn't act like this. This is screaming weakness and insecurity.

David Love's picture

You're fine considering you don't do photography work. Let us working photographers talk. Bye now.

Bob McClenahan's picture

I've lost every job except one for the next six weeks (my income is 1/3 event and 2/3 commercial). That's tens of thousands of dollars in income. If this lasts longer than six weeks, I don't know what I'm going to do. Emails from businesses have stopped except to say a shoot has been cancelled.

I am seriously worried if this continues more than a couple of months.

Robert Feliciano's picture

All my new projects are postponed, not cancelled, at least not yet.
I have a lot of video editing and retouching that I'll be doing myself, instead of outsourcing. That will save me some money and keep me busy. But my editor and retoucher are out of income.
Luckily January and February were lucrative and I have savings. Though if I knew this was coming, I would have rented some gear rather than spend $2,000 recently.
As I said in another post, if you're just starting out or mid-tier, maybe it's time to move up to mid-tier or high-end jobs. Those clients are surely looking to save money, but still get work done.

Ronald Tyler's picture

Personally I don’t make a living from photography, as for me it is a hobby rather than an income or business, not that I would not love to be doing this.
I work as a financial planner for a large Australian Bank and earn my income from this. So income wide I am cornered, but I am worried what this illness will do for Australia and the world as a whole both from a health perspective and an economic one.
Trumps attempts to stimulate the use economy is laughable and our prime ministers attempts are even worse. But the good news is most of our workforce has mandated sick leave and a social welfare net to fall back on.

Mauricio Flores's picture

All of my Video jobs are getting cancelled, everyone that I had booked for headshot sessions over the next couple of weeks also have postpone until further notice. I live in Alberta Canada, since 2015 we have been suffering through the oil price crash and even higher price differentials, on Monday, a day before the government declared the cancellation of all events with more than 250 people, the oils price dropped to ~$30, which means than even more oil and gas related business are going to struggle.

At this point I’m considering moving out of Alberta, and even Canada, it’s not as if I’m going to get another engineering job.

My plan so far is to hold tight to the few savings I have (around a month of expenses) and keep brainstorming about what to do...maybe do some sort of bookkeeping since we are I. Tax season, I dunno, following this post to see if I come up with something

Dinno Kovic's picture

I own an event Phototography business and all gigs have been cancelled. Typically 50% of revenue is made in the spring and the rest in the fall and holiday season. So to date 50% of my business has been written off. Hoping that the fall and winter business will at least save the year. Funny thing was that about 6 weeks ago I was forecasting for one of our strongest revenue years.

Deleted Account's picture

The only reason growth has continued is the belief it would continue. Sooner or later it will end.

Momchil Yordanov's picture

The quarantine and other disease control measures are a killer to every small, independent business, really. In my country the authorities ordered everything to be closed, apart from pharmacies, food stores and gas stations. Everything else if forbiden and they say the state of emergency gives them power to put you in jail even, if caught breaking the rules. And it's so vague, that everybody are scratching their heads. I mean, if you are a dentist, do you close or that's a medical service? 'Cause some dental problems are urgent as hell. But in terms of money - if you have a hair salon or a small cafe etc. you really need to have some money on the side. And I doubt many people do. It's not ordered yet that people can skip payments for electricity or their mortgage or anything. It's floating like an idea, but no concrete measures were taken. The situation is crazy. Basically, it's still developing and we do no know what is going to happen, but all institutions look like completely taken by surprise. Most people definitely are. I'm talking about Bulgaria, but majority of countries in the region are in the same situation.

Kevin Liu's picture

Here in LA, all but one of my jobs have been cancelled, and that one remaining one may very well be depending on how things go next month. Many of my overseas clients are going through the same things I am going through and no more of their products are making their way over to me either, so I'm without products to shoot. Every event I have been booked for has been cancelled, all corporate headshots have been suspended, all demand for videos has stalled. All my work with auto dealerships have stalled as well, and they have no idea when it will likely pick up. I hope things pick up soon, but it's not looking great. Every single person i know in the industry (photo / video / event / entertainment) is soon without any work on the calendar for the rest of the year. Let's hope a lot of us are able to weather the storm, but it looks like it will be at least a few months before we'll have some sense of normalcy.

James McGhie's picture

In Australia, all Overseas travellers will have to isolate themselves for 14 days. No matter where the visitor has come from. Under the AUS government response, small business with receive $25 000 in tax breaks, People on a pension will get $750 one off payment. These payment will go some way in getting the economy 'flowing'.

And event which has over 500 people attending will be cancelled.

The overseas experience, Italy & Singapore, have shown the importance of acting quickly and decisively. With the infection rate increasing exponentially, and the death rate hovering around 3 - 4%, this is far worse than the common cold or virus.

If you consider someone with a high risk - a chronic disease, crohns,- heart or one of chronic respiratory diseases, then the out break become more personal.

So yes it is serious.

Noam Galai's picture

I work as an entertainment photographer in NYC (anything celebrity related: portraits, TV sets, red carpets, concerts, award shows etc) - the whole industry shut down this week, and 100% of my jobs got cancelled for March and April. Of course things can change if the peak of the infection will be behind us before then... but most likely I am not going to work at all until at least mid-end of April if I have to guess. All TV shows got cancelled until further notice, no Broadway shows, no concerts, no radio interviews no nothing. Every single place I work with shut down or cancelled.
Im trying to set impromptu celebrity portraits for celebs who are bored at home right now... but I doubt anything will happen.

Im not going to say here how much im going to lose, but it's going to be painful. Im good savings-wise and will be ok, but this is def going to be a major blow for the year. Especially when tax season is upon us + im supposed to move to a new apartment with much higher rent in few weeks.
Unfortunately here freelancers cant apply for unemployment, and many people I know are going to suffer badly.

I think even once things start going back to normal, things will still be fairly slow here for a while. A lot of the companies that usually hire me are losing millions/billions right now, and im sure they will have to cut down on events/productions.

While im home for a month or two, im going to try selling prints maybe. If that doesnt work, im going to offer companies an ad spaces on my body and tattoo their logo for $20,000 each :)

andrew basson's picture

in south africa we have entered our 3rd recession since 2000, we entered this before the virus broke out, now with the virus adding on to that well money she is going the same way as the dodo

as for shoots , I have 1 wedding shoot for the year left, and well that is it

I am however a bit more lucky compared to others as I still have a day job as well which makes me around 800 US a month, savings pffff no savings to speak of, prices and cost of living have been going up on our side for a while, with this outbreak and many companies not being able to conduct business this will impact our cost of living even more hell I was using photography to to make extra income so I could at least live a little

I hope anyone and everyone effected by this will come out the other side safe

James Parsons's picture

Things are pretty bad over here in the UK. I take London travellers around landmarks and take their vacation pictures. Almost all of my bookings have cancelled due to their flights getting cancelled, or fears of going to public spaces. The only good thing is that its easier to get amazing pictures as there is very few people at any of the major landmarks.

I think this is very serious for our community as much of our work is seen as non-essential. Guess a new video series on how we are about to communicate business value to prospects would be incredibly useful to help us bounce back.

olivier borgognon's picture

At this stage i'm closing shop. All my events for march and april are cancelled, with a dead loss of 25000 usd, and as i'm a sport event and corporate event photographer, and studio photographer i'm down to zero .

Figuring out solutions, but working on different options, let's see what it leads.

Just me's picture

It will be interesting to do the same one in a month...

Wilbur Nelson's picture

No real change -- work remotely in Alaska for the publishing industry, college market. Video for course material -- although we've already been nuked between jobs going to India and tuition crowding out textbook/curriculum $$. Did see a good video on this just now from London Real... seemed to make sense.

Stay safe everyone -- don't burn through your FU money too quickly. ;-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdaIudGpDFI

Logan Cressler's picture

Please note, and Fstoppers should hopefully let people know this. People really should try to keep track of the business lost, especially things like cancellations etc. There will inevitably be some sort of economic relief, at the bare minimum tax credits or something. If you keep as best records you can you will be more able to prove how much money you lost, including money you could have potentially made based on past trends.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

We've had to postpone one workshop, but both airline, car rental and the hotel had no problem postponing it to the autumn and the rest of my workshops are also in the autumn. However, I do have one workshop in northern Italy at the end of August and since that is the epicentre of the virus here in Europe that one I am uncertain about.
This year I'll likely make most of my income from digital products and so far I have seen a dip on the 13th of march, but it is impossible to say if it was just a hickup or it will be the trend.

Brad MacMillan's picture

About the virus? I'm not worried. I've taken a few extra precautions. Washing a lot more regularly, carrying sanitizer with me for when there isn't a place to wash. Things like that. I'm young and healthy and if I contract it, being in self isolation for 2 weeks isn't the worst thing.

The impending recession is definitely what scares me. But one thing I also have lurking around is, how much work is going to come out of this as well? Especially commercial work. How many businesses will want to rebrand from this. Or even just showcase their stuff to push their product? Is now the time to really jump on that? That's my biggest thoughts right now.

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