Pandemic Profitability: The New World For Wedding Photographers with Lora & Issac Skelton
2020 was going to be our year. We dedicated 2019 to making sure 2020 would be the breakout year for our business. We had spent tens of thousands of dollars on business mentorship, rebranding, and investing in all new products to sell. We drastically increased our marketing budget and the wedding bookings were flying in. We had hired our first full-time employee. We had ourselves in a position to make more money in three months of work in 2020 than we made in all of 2019. We were going to hit our goal of $400,000 in revenue in 2020. And then Covid hit.
Wedding season for us was supposed to start in June. We welcomed our third child in early February, so we had planned our bookings so we would have some time off before the weddings started up. I remember us sitting at home when the first shutdown came through and saying, “Thank God we didn’t book anything until June. This will all be gone by then.” Man, I wish I had been right.
As the wedding cancellations began, so did the panic. We quickly dropped from 30 weddings down to 25. Then down to 20. Then down to 10. Finally, we dropped to eight. In a matter of weeks, our entire goal for 2020 went out the window, and we had to figure out how we were going to salvage the year and pay the bills. We were left with two options: either sit at home and complain about our year falling apart before our eyes, or we could do something about it. We could change our goals and strategy, and attempt to salvage 2020. We chose to do something, and it changed our lives for the better.
Our days as wedding photographers were over. Weddings were gone, and they weren’t returning back to normal anytime soon. It was sad, but we accepted that early on and realized we needed to be more than wedding photographers now. We needed to make money and shift our focus to portraits. We were used to working with 40 to 50 clients total in a given year, so changing that to working with 100+ was going to be a big shift. But, it was something that we had to do to have Pandemic Profitability.
Working when others weren’t is what allowed us to be successful this past year and is continuing to help us in 2021. The country was shut down and photos weren’t able to be taken. A huge number of photographers I knew just shut down and sat at home waiting for things to open back up. We started restructuring our business. We shifted focus and began to execute immediately. We ramped up marketing. When everyone was hoarding money, we were spending it. The extra $1,000 we used in Facebook ads wasn’t going to help us keep our doors open, so we figured we might as well spend it and be ready to go once things opened up.