Viruses are contagious. So is fear. So is panic… but so is kindness, so is love, and so is positivity.
No matter where we look, all we hear about is Coronavirus or COVID-19. Every email, Facebook status, and conversation is about it. Because of this, I have spent the last week in major panic mode. Every time I would try to calm down, a new alert would pop up and I would just cry. Finally I decided I can’t do this anymore. I’m choosing to be educated and cautious but not panicked and fearful.
Unfortunately a lot of this is out of our control. What is in our control though is out mindset, our practicing good hygiene, and our self care while we stay home to try to let everyone heal in the midst of this pandemic.
To the outside world, my job probably looks like trips to Italy and Mexico, but in reality, 90% of my job is sitting at home in front of my computer. If I’m not editing or answering emails, I’m doing a million other things around the house. What I’m trying to say is – I got this whole ‘social distancing’ thing down so for anyone that doesn’t know what to do while staying quarantined, here’s some advice from someone who is a pro at social distancing.
– If you are thinking about rescheduling your date, start discussing back up dates with all your vendors. Contact your venue and the rest of your vendors to see if you can all find a date that works for everyone. The positive of all this is how beautifully the whole wedding community has come together to help each other out. I have seen people stepping in and helping others out tremendously so if you are a bride reading this, do not worry. As Marie Forleo says, “Everything is Figureoutable,” and we will all figure this out together!
* If you need to send out a wedding postponement announcement, these sweet ladies are offering free, beautiful templates here and here.
* If you are a Philadelphia (or nearby) photographer and you need a potential back up photographer on a date that you cannot make, please feel free to reach out to me with the dates and I will help out as much as I can if I am free on those days.
– Schedule a Skype or FaceTime call with your vendors. If you were looking to have meetings in the next few weeks with vendors, or just had some wedding related questions, schedule a call instead! We’re all here to help you as much as we can so a virtual coffee date with one of your vendors may be just what you need right now. My brides know that if they ever need me, I’m just a phone call away.
– Join a local Facebook group specifically for brides. It’s great talking to friends about what I do but sometimes it’s nice to talk to other local photographers. They understand certain struggles that other people outside of the industry may not understand. The same goes for planning a wedding. Maybe talking to some other local brides that are going through the same thing right now is what you need.
– Work on those things that you were putting off. Whether it’s the seating charts or filling out vendor questionnaires, now is a good time to do the things that may not have been at the very top of your list.
– Update your site. Maybe you can even have other creatives review it and you can review their sites in return. It will help you see your website from a different perspective and see if there is anything that you may want to do differently.
– Update your blog. When busy season hits, it can feel like you’re drowning. We all have sessions that we love but just didn’t have time to blog. Take this extra time to sit down, go through old work, and post some of your favorite sessions for future clients to see on your site.
– Update your contracts, client management software, etc. Look at the processes you are using now and see if there is something you can do to simplify them so when things get busy again, you are organized and ready to take on the world. Last year, I invested in a client management software called HoneyBook and I have to say it has been an absolute life saver for keeping my business, my clients, and myself, organized.
– Learn a new skill. There are plenty of creatives offering online classes for discounted rates right now. There is also plenty of free knowledge online. Whether you are a makeup artist that has been wanting to learn how to sanitize your makeup kit the correct way or a videographer that has been wanting to learn new techniques in Premier Pro, now is the time to do so.
– Learn to use new platform. Whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube or TikTok, try to learn a new platform that your business is not on yet. Maybe there is a way that you can use this platform to market yourself.
– Map out your plans for the year. Just because right now is a difficult time, doesn’t mean we will be stuck here forever. Remember, everything is temporary. Write out a detailed, organized plan for how you are going to absolutely crush it this year… as soon as you can leave your house.
– Tackle that thing at the bottom of your to-do list. Haven’t gone through and organized your hard drives in a while? Now is the time to do so. Time can no longer be an excuse because we now have it so we can take a look at our to-do list’s and start actually doing them.
As I’m sure you all know, many small businesses and full time freelance artists do not have salaries, don’t have the luxury of paid days off, and cannot work from home. Below is a list of a few things you can do to support your favorite local hair stylist, small restaurant, or artist (and some of these are completely free).
– Buy gift cards. Whether you want to gift your friend a mini shoot for her upcoming birthday or you know that you’ll need your hair or makeup done for an event this upcoming fall, why not buy the gift card now? It will help your favorite local creative buy groceries or pay bills now while times are tough and it will help you get the services you want when you want to use them later on in the year.
– For photographers in particular: order prints or photo albums from past shoots. Albums are the most beautiful way to relive your favorite memories but it’s also a nice way to support photographers at a time when there are no photoshoots going on.
– Take an online course. Plenty of people offer online education. From personal trainers to chefs, you can find an online course for pretty much anything so if there is a skill that you wanted to work on while supporting your community, contact a local business and ask if they would offer online coaching.
– Like their posts on social media. I cannot tell you how important (and free) (and easy) this is. In a world where most small businesses have to use social media for marketing, you simply liking a bunch of posts on your favorite small businesses page means more to them than a ‘like.’ You liking their posts shows the algorithm that people actually care about this particular business and in turn, Instagram and Facebook will now share their posts with more people. By simply liking or commenting, you are actually helping your favorite businesses tremendously.
– Write a review. Again, with most marketing being done online, reviews mean a lot to small businesses. Unfortunately, people usually only think to write reviews if they had a bad experience. Think about some small businesses that you had a great experience with, look them up on Google (or Facebook) (or both), and write them a simple, nice review. It will help potential future clients learn more about the business and they will appreciate it more than you know.
This list could go on and on as I am not one to ever be bored. I am not sure how one can even be bored with so many things to do in the world (even if you are forced to stay home). Below is a list of things you can do to stay sane, with some tips on how to be productive, but also how to take some much needed me time during a very high stress period in our lives.
– Learn a new skill. I said this under my advice for small business creatives but this doesn’t necessarily have to be a skill that you use for your job. You can also just learn how to make the perfect rose matcha latte (a skill that I am still working on). YouTube has videos on.. well, I’m pretty sure everything in the world. My clients have turned to YouTube on wedding days to look up videos on how to tie a bow tie. If there are countless videos on how to tie a tie, I’m pretty sure there will be videos on any kind of skill that you may want to learn.
– Yoga / Work Out. On the topic of YouTube, you can look up countless videos on yoga, meditating, and working out at home. Do whatever is best for your lifestyle but do something to get your body moving so you are not just sitting on the couch all day.
– Clean / Organize. I know. I know. No one probably want to clean their house but I personally love an organized home so I am all about this one. Move things around. Find a new way to store old things. Go through your clothes and make a donation bag of things that you haven’t worn in the last year or so. Get a head start on your spring cleaning.
– Learn some new recipes. I am not a cook. In fact, being in the kitchen stresses me out but I realized that it’s only because I always feel like I never have time to cook. Now, we have plenty of time to learn these things so why not give it one more try!
– Me Time. This could be anything. Take an epsom salt bath. Read a book. Read two books. Watch your favorite movie. Watch a new movie. Meditate. Paint. Journal. Open all your windows and dance around the house to anything and everything by Britney Spears. What? Let’s move on.
– Send an email. I am a huge fan of random acts of kindness. It may actually be my favorite thing. There is nothing that turns someones day around more than a small nice gesture or being reminded that someone was thinking of them. I love sending out random texts or even hand written letters to friends out of nowhere just to show them I was thinking of them. If you don’t want to send out an actual letter right now – write a nice email to your friends!
It seems so lame at first but think about how many emails you have been seeing about the Coronavirus recently. Now think about how nice it would be to get a random email from a friend that simply said something like, “Hey! Remember that time we randomly drove to the beach together and blasted music in the car with the windows down? Just wanted to write to you because I randomly remembered that day and I wanted to see how you were doing. Hope you’re well!” Simple and thoughtful.
– Disconnect. If all this COVID-19 talk is causing you more grief and anxiety than you can handle, disconnect. Reading the news should be educational. It should not be panic-inducing. If you are hyper sensitive to what is going on, I am right there with you. This is why I wrote this light hearted blog post in the first place. I am checking the news once a day, but other than that, I’m trying to distract myself by focusing on the light hearted and the positives as much as I can.
Don’t panic and don’t stress.
Do wash your hands. Do stay inside. Do check up on your loved ones, even to say hello and break up all the negativity with a positive conversation.
I know you want to go out but the sooner that we all stay quarantined to take care of ourselves and each other, the sooner that life will hopefully go back to normal and we will be back to celebrating and popping champagne in no time.
Currently based out of both Philadelphia and Los Angeles, Kseniya's work brings her all over the globe to document beautiful memories for stylish couples who want to make a statement.
Recently named one of the top 100 Wedding and Boudoir Photographers in the world, Kseniya puts her artistic and vogue-style aesthetic into every image.