As of today, 25th June 2020, there are 4,72,972 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India and with the way things are going, the number of cases are only going to rise. This situation has brought the entire world to a standstill. Many weddings which were supposed to happen during the summer and the coming few months, have either been called off or being postponed to a later date. A lot of uncertainty glooms over the $50 billion Indian Wedding Industry.
From wedding photographer’s point of view, things don’t look for the next coming months and there is certainly not much clarity when the things will improve. We are used to shooting weddings and gathering which is practically opposite of ‘social distancing’.
The coronavirus hit Indian wedding fraternity during early March, which was still a busy wedding period for most of the photographers. They were busy shooting weddings and getting the editing of clients from previous months. For studio owners and companies, working from home possesses an immense logistic and technical challenge. Not every team is equipped with the latest technologies to deal with a sudden shift in work methodology. The team members travel from far off and most of the work can be executed only from the studio because of large data complexity and integrity, a powerful desktop system which is required to make edits and more importantly a disciplined and structured editing workflow. From a delivery point of view, there are photos, wedding teasers, films, highlights, traditional documentary videos, albums and so much more where a different person is taking care of each edit. So, a delay in delivery even from working from home is guaranteed in these unprecedented times. Freelancers, on the other hand, having a limited project might be in a better position to deliver to their clients.
Concerning cash flow, the situation looks grim for at least the next six months. A lot of teams will either have to shut shops until the situation becomes normal or will have to lay off their permanent workforce. It’s sad to see what was called a recession-proof industry being so hit and would be the last to revive from this pandemic.
The prospective bride and grooms are hesitant in making any wedding plans. The enquiries have dried up and even when they enquire, they can hardly seem to make any confirmation for the event. The ones who have already booked the photographers, before the coronavirus set in, are either asking to put things on hold or in some cases asking to cancel/ refund. If lucky, some clients might book the photographers but would release a very small token amount in these times, just to be on a safe side. All these make the situation very difficult financially for the photography community.
The new normal for weddings will be thought through by the government once things get under control. Till then please do not expect weddings to take place in India. Even if they do it will be a very low scale and less gathering or even a virtual one. All these situations will drastically change the wedding photography scenario. When people don’t spend on hotel, travel, décor, they might not as well spend that much on wedding photography. So, the pricing will certainly come down as a lot of vendors will be fighting to get that assignment and try to make up for the loss in revenue during corona times.
A lot of weddings which will be postponed to a later date in 2020 or early 2021 will make certain muhurat dates very busy. One can only take a certain number of assignments. So, multiple weddings clashing on the same dates will again be a loss in revenue for the photographers. Easier said than done, but one might want to skip the entire 2020 and just forget about this one year. The photographers who manage their finances well and can sustain this situation bravely after things get back to working normally will be the only ones surviving the tide. It’s not going to be easy.