A lot of us are stuck at home, with no photoshoots and no clients to keep us busy. While it might not seem like it, between the stimulus package, small business loans and grants we’re trying to receive, some work needs to be done.

Work to prepare you for the future. Work to prepare you for if and when another wave hits.

In a LensRentals survey last week, 20 percent of photographers stated they’re planning to look for new careers. And I expect that number to grow. Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or you have a plan, there’s a few things you can continue to work on right now to make sure you’re staying creative, and that you’re prepared the instant your clients’ businesses start to open again.

Update your contracts

I never thought I’d have to add a “pandemic” clause to my contracts, but here I am, working with my legal adviser on just that. It’s important to have this ready as soon as possible, because when you are booked, you’ll ultimately be asked about this.

For me, I’m asking my clients to put forth a 50% deposit through the remainder of 2020 — and if their photoshoot is canceled, I’ll apply it to a future photoshoot unless they request otherwise.

Look back on past jobs and budget

Even with things uncertain as they are now, it’s important to look at your past year and see what jobs you had. Do you anticipate those happening again? If so, reach out to your clients and offer to book them in advance with a deposit. If need be, offer a discount to get the income flowing your way. And be sure to have that contract finalized!

Get creative, collect deposits and offer gift cards

In the short term, think of how you can creatively get some income flowing your way. I regularly get emails from restaurants in my area asking me to buy gift cards. You can do that, too. And when you do book a job, make sure you’re collecting a deposit.

Outside of that, I’ve had some success in selling prints through my Shootproof gallery. This is typically what I use for client galleries, but it works great as a print platform as well. While a lot of print labs are closed, some like Bay Photo are still in operation. In a week, I sold $300 worth of prints to clients, family and friends.

Think of other genres

When things start to open up again, you might have to take some jobs you usually wouldn’t take. It’s important to know what you’re willing to take, and what you aren’t. For me, I’m going to be pushing individual portraits more than I did before coronavirus. At the same time, I’m still very much against photographing weddings.

Know what you’re willing to do. Expand your horizons, and hopefully, you’ll get some new leads because of it.

Still uncertain?

For a lot of us, it will be slow going at first. It’s why you need to re-evaluate. Maybe it’s necessary to pick up a part-time job to make ends meet in the short term.

Despite that, don’t hang up your camera. Instead, think back to when you first got interested in photography. You probably took as many pictures as you could. Why not get back into that mindset?