The age of COVID-19 is a complicated time for everyone — creatives included.
Many members of the YAG University community have either been fortunate enough to channel our passion for visual art into a rewarding career, or are on our way to doing just that. But when the activity that pays the bills is also the one that provides an outlet during stressful times, getting up for it may be a bit of a challenge in today’s environment. Add to that the fact that many of us have been stuck at home under quarantine, and who could blame you for feeling a little uninspired?
Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that people in all areas of the world are dealing with a similar reality, and that (say it with us now) we’re all in this together. If you’re a photographer who just isn’t feeling it at the moment, here’s why you need not worry and instead need to give yourself a break.
This Is Beyond Your Control
Right now, being an independent photographer is a bit of a double-edged sword. With millions of Americans out of work due to COVID-19-related layoffs and furloughs, you may be feeling fortunate to be self-employed. However, that doesn’t mean you’re feeling any less pressure to perform — likely, quite the opposite.
The thing is, those layoffs were largely the result of the economic toll the pandemic has taken on the country, not the actions of any one employee. It’s important to realize that even as a sole proprietor, there’s only so much you can do in an environment in which even the largest businesses are suffering. Try to relinquish control over the things you can’t change — e.g., social distancing rules, event cancelations, etc. — and channel that energy instead into productive things that will help your business once the pandemic has passed.
There’s More to Photography Than Shooting
Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be difficult to find the time to focus on all the other critical aspects of your photography business that don’t involve picking up a camera — things like making sure your website, portfolio and social media channels are up to date and in line with your current vision.
This is a rare opportunity to reflect on the things that are most important in both life and business, so take the time to evaluate your brand against how you see yourself as an artist.
© Brooke Lark via unsplash
On your website, for example, do you have a full list of the services you offer — or want to offer? Is there a niche you’d like to carve out or a skillet you’d like to ramp up, and are there online resources to support that? Try to conjure that “if only I had the time to…” voice that seems have a way of echoing in the back of your mind when you don’t have the capacity to do anything about it.
Focus on What You’ve Accomplished
As an ‘artrepreneur,’ it is so important to be ambitious and to have a forward-looking vision. But in times like these, it’s equally important to step back and appreciate what you’ve already built. Take a look through your image archives, your client list and even positive testimonials that could provide a much-needed ego boost — and that you could potentially use in future marketing. And who knows — maybe you’ll even stumble upon a few hidden image gems that are good enough to sell.
Get Back to Basics
When things do get back to normal and you are able to safely go out and shoot again, try to ease back into the craft by focusing on the areas that ignited your passion for photography in the first place.
If there is any good to come from this unprecedented time, it’s a chance to strip away the aspects of our personal and professional lives that don’t bring us joy and instead focus on the things that do. While that isn’t to say you’ll necessarily be able to make a career solely out of capturing the things you’re passionate about, it’s a good starting point to help get you back into the creative mindset and out into the field.