5 Aspects of Business that Wedding Photographers need to embrace to sustain: Aditya Mahagaonkar

Small and medium scale business in the wedding industry have been majorly hit, with the operational scale of businesses dropping down drastically writes Aditya Mahagaonkar, Founder, WhatKnot Photography.


It has been 4 months since WHO declared Covid-19 as a pandemic. At the onset of this, everyone was hopeful of a certain recovery trajectory, but sadly that hasn’t been the case for many of the business sectors. Small and medium scale business in the wedding industry have been majorly hit, with the operational scale of businesses dropping down drastically, forcing business owners to take harsh corrective measures. The wedding industry, which falls under the broad gamut of the Arts and Entertainment industry, has been the worst hit. Reports worldwide have classified this sector as ‘Highly Affected, High Financial Impact’. This leaves businesses and individuals with no option but to study their core practices and find ways to battle the situation.

We as photographers and business owners propose 5 aspects of business that wedding photographers need to embrace to sustain the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. 

1. Know your numbers

Professionals need to understand their business in terms of pure numbers, especially in these times where every penny matters. You will need to be well versed with your cash flow statements, the cost of operating your business, the cost of acquiring a customer, and many more. Your aim here is to have a net positive in all aspects. Photographers, especially individuals and freelance professionals need to develop a habit of accessing their finances every month and strategise their next steps accordingly. A net positive is indicative of a healthy business and enables one to be in control of their decisions while still keeping the creative viability of the business.

2. Advertising should remain an integral part of the business

YES, that's what we said. Advertising and a crisis scenario are not related and one should not make the mistake of linking to the two. Henry Ford has said, “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a watch to save time”. As photographers, your best work, that you created throughout the last season, needs to be out there, else you are out of competition. Budget for your advertising and marketing spends based on your numbers, calculate a monthly expense and adhere to it.

Also, understand that the photography industry works on word of mouth advertising more than anything else. Now is a good time to reach out to your client base and propose your offerings to them. Staying top of the mind is the key to your advertising success.

3. Frugality will take you places

STOP. HOGGING. EQUIPMENT. Yes, that was meant to be loud. Photographers are notorious for their spending on equipment. We are talking about the expensive cameras, lenses and accessories that photographers want their hands on as soon as they are released. This is known as gear acquisition syndrome. We have been there and done that and hence can advise that it is best to steer clear from such acts especially during these uncertainties. ‘You’ create content, your camera doesn’t. Period. Companies will keep coming with newer tech every 6 months. Do you need to upgrade? The simple answer is NO. This is the best time to create an SOP around your buying habits which are well thought of and make every purchase worth its cost. 

4. Pivot your Service offerings

With home weddings taking centre stage at the moment, we don’t see this as a mere fad but more like a trend, at least until the Covid-19 crisis is past us. Access if your current service offerings and deliverables and offering what the client wants is the key to sustain. As an example, for a 50 PAX wedding, clients are not looking at a large team. Are you able to work with someone who you can trust to deliver 50% of our output? Are you able to change your delivery timelines that match? Are you able to work on smaller budgets? Are you able to deliver the same value as you did for a larger wedding? These aspects need to be given a hard look. 

That being said, 50 members are scarce. This means that you need to find other ways to generate revenue during the crisis to help maintain a net positive. Assess your expertise and create service offerings that are generic and can be applied to other business sectors. Reach out to businesses and offer your services. Cold calls and emails are the way forward. Out of your comfort zone you say? Now is the time.  

5. Plan for the New Normal

The covid-19 crisis will not stay forever. The situation is bound to improve. However, experts predict that the economy is going to enter a ’New Normal’ where people will be more vigilant about their spendings. The last 4 months has given us a taste of what we actually need and what matters in reality. This mindset will have a direct impact on the wedding photography industry where the ticket size for a wedding may drop, but the value that a client needs may remain the same. In such a scenario, photographers need to assess how they can match such expectations and still generate profits. Planning now in terms of resources, equipment, edit effort, operational efficiency etc, will enable you to tackle the changed expectation with more ease. 

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