Apr 15, 2020

A tip for photographers taking clients during COVID19


There are loads of other options for producing income right now. Options that won’t put others in jeopardy and also follow state-mandated Stay at Home orders.

Let me just get some things off my chest first before I list some options for generating income.

First off, listen up: YOU ARE NOT ESSENTIAL.

Now, let’s talk about the definition of ‘essential’.

essential: absolutely necessary or extremely important.

Sorry, but that’s not you. *insert eye roll here* A photo of your client’s growing baby bump is not “extremely important”. And a session of a one-year-old smashing a freaking birthday cake surrounded by balloons in your studio is not “absolutely necessary”.


Oh, but you have sessions outdoors? A minimum of 6 feet away? Yay you.


So you’re telling me you’re going to sanitize everything the client touches before and after each session? You’re going to sanitize everything YOU touch before and after each session? How is your client going to get there? By breaking the Stay at Home regulation and drive over to you?

What have you communicated with the client? Oh, I know, probably goes something like this: There’s a Shelter in Place order, but it’s fine. The session only takes 30 minutes and we will be outside. Just don’t share the photos until later.


It is absolutely INFURIATING to see local photographers still conducting sessions and thinking the rules don’t apply to them. I have mounds of photographer friends who have stopped taking clients because…listen to this again…PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT ESSENTIAL. And you know what? Their photography business is THEIR LIVELIHOOD. Does it suck? You’re damn right it sucks. Is it the right thing to do? Well, duh.

So hey, if you’re a photographer (yes, I’m talking to YOU, local photographer girl and I am —>this close<— to naming you, but I won’t give you any additional attention) who is adamant about taking sessions during a freaking pandemic with a state-mandated Stay at Home order…YOU KINDA SUCK.

The rules DO APPLY to you.

Okay, now that I have that rant out of the way, here are some ideas on how to generate income during this crazy time.

1. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY: You already have loads of images from client sessions, correct? It is possible to make great money selling those as stock. You don’t have to shoot anything new. Simply complete a model release with their signature (all via email), upload and wait for your cash to come. I sell stock photography through Cavan Images and even on a slow month, I can pull in $300. From photos of my kid playing in the sink to a line of colored pencils, stock photography is a great option and so easy to start up.

2. GIFT CERTIFICATES: People LOVE supporting local businesses, but let’s do this is a safe and legit way. Offering gift certificates for summer or fall will help your cash flow immediately. You can find loads of inexpensive gift certificate templates on Etsy.

3. OPEN UP OLD GALLERIES: Send out emails and let clients know that their galleries have been reopened. You could also add additional images that weren’t included before. Offering a discounted rate on these images will also help move them to purchase (although, you may not even need to discount them.)

4. CREATE AN EBOOK: Obviously you know quite a bit about photography, so why not create an ebook for budding photographers? Tell them what you know and how they can achieve a successful photography business.

5. SELL PRESETS: Have you made your own presets or actions? Why not sell them to bring in a bit of cash?

So see? There are so many options that will help you keep your business afloat during this time. Because really, if you think a photography business is ONLY about taking clients, then you’re not maximizing your knowledge or business sense AT ALL in the first place.

How about you adhere to the guidelines and understand that the state-mandated guideline applies to YOU, TOO. In other words, you could at least FOLLOW DIRECTIONS right now and know that this is only temporary. Photography isn’t going anywhere so let’s just sit back and think of ways to generate income aside from client sessions during a freaking pandemic. You’re not the ONLY person with a struggling business right now, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from rules and moral behavior.

And if you’re doing porch sessions right now…STOP DOING THAT, TOO.

There. I’m done.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Katie Austin says:

    I am SO with you about this subject!! It drives me nuts when I see certain photogs in my area trying to drum up business during this time. Knock on wood, but my state doesn’t have a “shelter-in-place” law (although I really wish it did, it’d save a lot of grey area around here) but I don’t care how far away you are from your clients: everyone HAS to do their part and stay indoors. Please!