It really was just a matter of time, right?
COVID-19 has hit Philadelphia, DelCo, and New Jersey.
As a mama, it’s been tough not to panic. But, as a mama, there’s not much else that I can do besides wash my hands and try to Lysol everything, which I do anyway. Keeping this virus contained is a matter of common sense and safe hygiene practices that we already practice in our household. Plus, I made my Costco run and started my secret stash of goodies wayyyy before the doomsday preppers could steal all the good stuff off the shelves— I don’t mess around when it comes to an apocalypse and lack of snacks mmkay? #alwaysbeprepared
As a business owner, though, preparation extends beyond good hand washing and stocking up. Already, my industry has been hugely affected. Brides and grooms are concerned about having to reschedule their weddings due to flight cancelations and quarantines. Those that should be planning their weddings and booking vendors are choosing to wait, which has put a halt on what was supposed to be the busiest booking season in years. People are panicked. Even if the virus is just a wild scare, the impact of fear is real, and we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
While I’m not waiting anxiously for the end of the world, the reality of the situation is that this virus could impact Brey Photo, my family, and my clients directly.
Brey Photo and all the mamas, papas, kiddos, brides, and grooms that have built this awesome lifestyle with me are my heart and soul. I care so deeply about all the families that I serve, which is why I wanted to get it out there now, before the emails and the messages have a chance to hit my inbox. You have enough to worry about.
First off, there are three things that ANY vendor that you come in contact with should be doing:
- Using clean hands. Brey Photo photographers wash our hands upon entering a client’s home or hospital room. Duh. If a sink, hot water, and soap are not available (outdoors or at an event, etc.) we use hand sanitizer. A lot of hand sanitizer. Adjusting my position, my gear, and posing a child means that there are opportunities to pick up germs in between hand washes. If you’ve seen it, you may have laughed at my giant bottle of Purell on your shoot, but that comes with me always… if I don’t have one of those cutey pie Pumpkin Spice Watermelon Bubblegum Fresh Linen smelling sanitizers from Bath and Body Works in my pocket. Are they not the best?
- Using sanitized equipment. My camera gear is cleaned regularly, and anytime I am working with props, styled clothing, or a quilt or blanket for family sessions, those props are washed by themselves and sanitized before and after every session. Props are stored in Tupperware containers and air tight plastic bags when not in use. Pleaseeee, folks, ask your photographer how they ensure cleanliness and how they keep from cross contamination in between sets.
- Refraining from going to work if sick. Some of y’all already know this, because some of you were right there with me when my son and I both got the treacherous stomach bug of Christmas 2019. Never, ever, do I jeopardize the health and safety of a family for a paycheck. If I am exposed to an illness, I offer a reschedule. Absolutely, this has caused financial strain. And absolutely, it’s been frustrating when sniffles are just allergies, or my baby’s stomach ache was just a bad meal. But it is 100% irresponsible to go into a birth or a client’s home unhealthy, so it is absolutely worth the figurative headache.
To not do these things is completely unacceptable and I am tired of seeing photographers get recommended in those Facebook threads and on NextDoor and such that I know for a fact do not practice these things. Please do NOT be afraid to ask your photographer (or any vendor!) to follow your own personal wishes for hygiene, especially if they are going to be handling your children or coming into your home!
Unfortunately, considering that new updates about the Philadelphia cases and closed schools are popping up even as I write this, I am realizing that the spread of this virus is inevitable. Thankfully, I have contractual policies already in place as well that protect myself and my clients in case we are quarantined:
- In the event that BP or a portrait client is quarantined, the client that is impacted will receive a credit to their account.
- If a wedding or milestone event is rescheduled due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a quarantine, or travel restriction, BP will make the reasonable accommodations necessary. Credits will be issued on a case by case basis.
- If a quarantine or illness prevents BP from shooting a milestone event, Brey Photo will make all reasonable accommodations to send an associate photographer. The photography community is close knit and brimming with talented friends and colleagues whom I trust to capture your special day. Image culling, processing, and delivery will be handled by Brey Photo… because at the end of the day, even under quarantine I know I will be a control freak over my art.
The thing is, these BP policies are in pretty much already in place. The point of a contract that houses these policies is to protect my clients and my family, to protect BP from financially catching on fire, and to provide the best portrait experience possible. So, so far, all contractual policies will be enforced as per usual. As we move further into what seems like a plot straight out of a movie, exceptions and special circumstances may arise.
The fact is that the Coronavirus and the panic surrounding it may hurt Brey Photo just like it has my fellow photographers in the industry, but nothing is worth jeopardizing the safety of my family, myself, or my clients, and my policies will continue to reflect this, just as they always have.