Wow, wow, wow, what just happened to 2020 being the best year yet? And it's not over yet! There are a few words that have become every-day terms over the past year! One of them is "pivot," and it applies to all of us. It's a word that connects us regardless of age, location, or profession. We all had to (and still have to) respond to a global crisis that does not discriminate. It doesn't matter what your family status is, or your gender, race, financial or social status. I could go on forever about all the difficulties we were collectively dealing with, but you already know.
Now, what I really came here to tell you about is the immense gratitude I feel for our communities coming together to support, uplift, and pick-up where picking-up was needed. Out of all the hardship of illness and loss, change was born on many levels. Change that was more than overdue! Being forced to stand still and re-evaluate where we were and where we wanted to go was an incredible opportunity that presented itself through this very new situation, the whole world found itself in.
Portrait photography came to a complete standstill. Like many other companies, we had to find new ways to connect with and safely serve our clients. That meant not working at all when the state, county, and city asked us to. Being an artist, the one way I knew how to process what was going on was through my art. Front Porch Portraits came along for many photographers worldwide. It kept us busy while feeding our need to create. I conducted these as a personal project for the sole purpose of documenting families as they were during this time - no makeup, no planning, no assistant, and it all took 5 minutes from 20' away.
And I passed both the written exam as well as image review with flying colors!
Every industry has its benchmark. The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation is ours. No matter what genre a photographer specializes in, the CPP is a fundamental step in mastering one's craft. Whether a photographer is just getting started or has years of experience under his/her belt, they'll come out of the certification experience with the knowledge they need to succeed as a photographer in this competitive business. We are also required to re-certify every 3 years to stay current on technical and artistic developments in the industry.
As time went by and Covid numbers seemed to have hit a peak and slowly started coming down in our area, I was able to open up for underwater portraits again. Being in and under chlorinated water with one or two people at a time at a safe distance seemed doable. It was a great feeling doing the work I love, serving my clients, keeping the studio going, and all that while creating an unforgettable experience and beautiful artwork for families who are living through an unprecedented new reality.
It was clear pretty quickly that this virus wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. We had to come up with a plan - quickly. At the beginning of 2020 we had started looking into renting a studio space permanently instead of opting for the as-needed rental we've been doing so far. We were all thrilled about the possibilities our dedicated space for creativity would offer. Our business plan quickly grew into a beautiful co-op of creative minds from photography to graphic design, personal branding, and teaching, all in one space. The fact that all this was put on hold, does not mean it won't happen. We are busy working out all the details behind the scenes and are looking forward to sharing more soon.
Meanwhile... converting the garage into a studio was not feasible at the time and inviting clients into our home - obviously - wasn't an option either. The solution came in form of a concrete slab that our outdated and forgotten jacuzzi was sitting on. Jacuzzi went out and 4 corner posts later I had a 12'x12' studio space with removable walls.
Safe, convertible, semi permanent and outdoors. I'm never in the same space as my clients but have all the benefits of a studio space with complete control over my lighting.
It turned out to be the answer to many issues with trying to continue to work during a pandemic.
Until covid case numbers went through the roof right after Thanksgiving ...
5. Closing out the Year with Products
Right after Thanksgiving I decided to take a break from photographing people until Covid case numbers go down again. Too many were falling ill and encouraging anyone to come out and do something that wasn't essential didn't sit right with us.
Luckily I had something to fall back onto. A skill I had learned almost 30 years ago - product photography. I could offer this service completely contact-free. Consultations were done via video conference; clients would drop off their products at shipping/receiving (aka my garage). Once we worked out the concept, the initial setup followed. Again - video conference to confirm the design and off we were to creating images for websites, marketing, social media and other advertising platforms.
Countless individuals had to rethink their careers after being furloughed or laid off permanently. Everyone had to think outside the box to come up with a way to make money and support their families. Many had to transfer their retail store into the virtual world of sales. From baking, sewing to online pilates and so many more - these businesses all needed their products photographed. Social media marketing was at an all-time high. And because we know how hard starting a business is, the first product photograph was at no charge.
We want to send you off with a big THANK YOU for sticking with us through this crazy year! Words cannot express how much we appreciate each and every one of you! We're here today because of you.
Supporting a small business means supporting someone's dream, and believe me when I say the whole family makes a happy dance every time you purchase a session, an album, a print, an ornament, a canvas or a story box.
Let's see what 2021 has in store for us. Know that we will be here for your family's or your business' photography needs.