What are your bets on how the wedding photography industry will look by the time we get through the pandemic? Here, an award-winning wedding photographer shares his experiences on getting through this period and looks to the future of the industry.
Wedding photography is all about socializing or at least learning to appear friendly and likable to keep up appearances in front of your clients and other guests, who may become future clients. It's not exactly surprising that this kind of business is currently taking a massive hit and affecting photographers and videographers, not just this spring and summer but also into the next year. Alan Law, a recognized wedding photographer from the UK, who has been awarded titles such as "Wedding Photographer of the Year" and "Top 5 Wedding Photojournalists in the UK 2017" shares his current experiences and thoughts on the matter here. Law is also a founder of This is Reportage, an active online community and directory for documentary style wedding photographers.
At the moment, Law's instinct and hope tell him that the industry will bounce back in a significant way. People want to get married today, and they will want to get married tomorrow; the crisis might even intensify those feelings once things return to normal. The desire for that social gathering where you get to see your loved ones all in one place will likely become even more appreciated after the enforced isolation restrictions are lifted.
The downside is that this pandemic is affecting the economy on a global scale; thus, even those who may have customarily left aside a bigger budget for their wedding will likely be affected. They may have lost a part of their savings, which could take months or years to build back up, or they might want to be more conscious about their spending in the future. Similarly, currently operating wedding photographers are deeply affected by the situation, and even though some might receive financial assistance from the government or other official bodies, it is very likely that sadly, others might not survive it. Weddings are an integral part of our society and culture, so it is unlikely this would make a whole industry disappear overnight. Both clients and suppliers will need to adapt to any changes, though.
In regards to workshops and networking opportunities, Law believes that they won't be affected. Undoubtedly, current or near-future events have had to cancel or postpone. Photography education events provide a sense of community for this solitary profession, so it's no wonder that most of us will continue to attend or organize them in the future. And, imagine attending the first event after the pandemic! It will be a special moment where you get to rejoice and be reunited with fellow industry friends and acquaintances! This social side to these events is just as important as the educational side.
As for personal feelings, Law was struck seeing his colleagues and friends go through so much stress and fear of potentially losing all of their livelihoods, his own included. Not surprisingly, he also felt scared for involving his family in this uncertainty. Law's response to the matters is to "carry on" and keep working on his business. By offering friendly advice and assistance to his couples who have had to postpone or cancel and by sharing his knowledge and advice on how to deal with situations like these to others in the industry, Law also shares this information and more on a special podcast episode. It features Simon Leclercq, who is a doctor as well as a wedding photographer. This particular episode, Law hopes, will offer some insight coming straight from someone working on the frontline of this pandemic.
Even though we don't know how the situation will pan out in the future and when will we see an end to it, there is still hope and little things that make the situation more bearable. The photography community has become even more tight-knit, as people began to share their experiences and advice on how to deal with postponed or canceled bookings, loss of income, finding financial support, and more:
In all the Facebook groups I’m in, for instance, I see hundreds of offers of help, advice, support, sharing of tips, experiences, contract-advice, funny anecdotes to lift spirits... you name it. It’s an awesome community to be part of, it really is.
The professionals are not sitting idle. They are still submitting photos for awards, listening to podcasts, and still creating. Law believes that "this shows how photographers are a resilient bunch. We know that we're going to get through this, and we're not going to sit in the background during it. We'll be proactive, helping others as much as possible, while also focusing on our businesses, pushing forward as much as we can."
What are your predictions for the future of the wedding industry?
Images used with the permission of Alan Law.