Let’s face it, it’s an integral part of the day those happy snaps of the bride and groom and the wedding party, you may be lucky enough to have someone in the family, who is capable of doing that, but in most cases, you do need the services of the professional and the wedding photographer is one of the associated industries that have been severely impacted by COVID, they called micro businesses, no employees and no access, and up until now, no access to most government help it’s been on offer.
Kat Lynn is a professional photographer and I asked her, when she got into the industry.
Think I’ve been doing photography ever since I left university but technically since 2016 When we started Sonny & Kat photography and, and then in 2019 I became a full time photographer with Foodie Shots so both those businesses are still running.
COVID Timing is probably not ideal. In, when you when you consider when you started full time work as a photographer.
That was a scary thing so to leave a corporate safety net or have you know a check each fortnight and then to go into being a sole trader, you know, three, four months out of when COVID hit, and building our studio was quite, daunting but I’m glad we did it and it says certainly put hairs on your chest, from a business perspective.
I mean, we were calling them micro businesses but we’re talking about events you know like weddings, in particular but events sort of industries. And when people think of events by thinking of, you know, probably, the location of the wedding. The wedding dress, flowers, but do they think of everything that’s attached to the way the industry in terms of what needs help. Now, for example, but the little extras that people probably cut off first.
I think that’s where a lot of the damage is happening within our micro industry you know, you’ve got the bombinaries, you’ve got, just even the little people that do the handmade cufflinks, all those tiny little things that happen in our industry that make the wedding, all those special little intricacies they’re affected and definitely the accommodation and things like that are affected are the big ones, obviously because you’ve got weddings that go from, you know, hundreds of people that are coming from interstate to, like I had one, only a couple of weeks back, God bless them, they had 17 In the end, and they still went ahead because they cancelled and canceled and they said that we just have to go ahead, because there’s no guarantee if they book again in, you know, six months time that’s not going to happen again so they just bit the bullet and had to have a much smaller wedding, which is great for them that they got it done. But it means that there’s such a reduced impact in terms of income, revenue for the economy around that wedding,
how has it affected your business in terms of a, not knowing, week to week whether events or functions that you’ve been booked for go ahead.
It is a an anxiety level that I don’t think micro businesses or businesses in general have had to experience so you have these highs and lows of business in general but then to add on to this this seesaw of is it going to happen is it going to happen again. Oh, thank God it’s happening so you sort of, once you get to the event, even until you know your finish up. Are they going to call COVID Like a strike COVID You hear so many horror stories where brides have had to move their weddings, you know, hours earlier because I get told, this afternoon, they’re going into lockdown right. That is huge stress on people and just it just puts plans, you can really can’t plan. You just sort of flying blind realistically and hoping for the best, which is not a good way to run a business.
Is there much eligibility for the you know the help that the state and federal governments have announced
from personally from our business perspective because I don’t have an employee. Yes, we’re GST registered like we weren’t able to take any advantage of the grants that were out last year. We’re hoping, fingers crossed that I’m, you know, our business will be eligible for this smaller one that’s coming up. Don’t know yet because we don’t know what that looks like from eligibility perspective, but it really isn’t a lot for micro there just seems to be one or two things that just, you know bump us out and we’re left, left in the lurch again and we just have to sort of try and keep picking up the pieces like, okay, you know, I may lose work this week, and it gets transferred to next week because of cancellations, but that’s still time that I have to make up I still have to do those jobs next week, and try and generate new business to keep the business going. So we were really suffering, I don’t think they’re going to really understand how much we’re suffering until we’re all gone.
Do you think there there is a risk of, you know those micro businesses especially it seems like you’re almost being punished for being self employed?
I don’t think they’re meaning to punish us, but it certainly feels like that like just guys, give us a bit of a break, you know, literally, people are saying I just need to go and get another nine to five job, just to make up that that gap that went is not going to be able to fulfill ourselves, and that’s really sad because these are dreams and passions that people have put their whole lives on hold, they’re not going on holidays because they want to actually make something for themselves, the Australian Dream. We’ve got people that are trying to help us like Chamber of Commerce, you’ve got, you know, RDA, they’re all trying to speak up for the micro businesses, just not sure if they’re listening. So, yeah.
So, apart from a financial impact, I assume that you’re working longer hours, as well, for less money.
Yeah, you will certainly will even, even if you just take the wedding industry. Yes, we do a lot of communication with our brides but we’re doing double the work because we’re checking in with them, we are doing so much more to try and see where we can help them like I had a bride that said, Kat Do you know how that I can connect my family down in Melbourne, and we were speaking about, you know, the technology side here we can use Facebook, we can use Zoom so not only are we for being photographers we’re being counsellors we’re being tech people, we try and find those solutions to make their days special as it can be. So, yeah, there’s so much complexity now that we’re dealing with, It’s not just, you know, the normal.
So Kat, obviously, you obviously the solution is to provide support and you know, go away COVID through vaccines, but apart from that, I assume that you’d be calling for a little bit more flexibility when it comes to assistance criteria.
Definitely. They just have to consider, and put themselves in a micro businesses shoes, and actually see the impact and have an understanding of how much vitality that micro businesses bring to the general economy. I mean, I just think that really needs to be considered and I mean there are governing bodies such as you know, again, I mentioned Chamber of Commerce that are starting to really recognise sole traders and micro businesses with their awards that are coming up the Business Excellence Awards, which is fantastic to see. There’s so much more work to be done. And I think the government really needs to understand that, and I’ll quote something from Tracy Sheen that I saw on LinkedIn, she was quoting from the CPA Australia, and I’ll read it out it was like in 2020 57.9% of businesses, received more than 10% of Revenue Online, and that is that is an increase of 51%, compared to 2019 so that is one of the largest increases in terms of businesses going online and people needing to do that so from a photographer’s point of view, it’s really important that businesses understand how important for the photos are to their business and being represented and, hopefully, that’s where they can maybe fill the gap where they can be seen, and hopefully you know, get some income at least whilst these events and that you need a buffer. So hopefully, the online business provides that bit of buffer.
Okay, thank you very much for talking to me this morning.
Interview was by Belinda Sanders.