When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, we had no idea how devastating it would be to all of us. Over the past few months, I’ve talked to several photographers about the jobs they have lost, about how they were planning for 2020 to be the best year yet, only to be let down by every business closing up shop. Weddings were rescheduled, corporate events and conferences were canceled, family portraits were relinquished to the front porch.

And while, as photographers, we battle this struggle daily (myself included), our clients are dealing with it, too. More than ever, it’s important to reach out to them to stay at the forefront.

Check in with your clients

This should go without saying. Check in with your clients, not only about your previously booked jobs, but also how you can help.

They might not email you back, or worse, your emails might get bounced back. In this case, they may have been furloughed or laid off. Reach them regardless — call them if you have their cell number, or reach out via social media.

Offer to help

For me, I decided to give any of my clients that had been furloughed or laid off a free headshot session. Why?

Well, for one, it’s not like I was doing much. Outside of photographing the protests and aftermath in my city, there hasn’t been much work to be had. This allowed me to get out and practice my photography, try new techniques and to further check in with them.

On a personal level, offering something like this can also serve to benefit you.

Think about it. Your clients will undoubtedly either get their jobs back or find new ones. And when the pandemic is over, who will they turn to when they need photography services? Even if you don’t hear from them again, it gets you some face time, and gets you out of the house (which, believe it or not, Netflix will be there when you return).

While you might balk at the idea of giving away free headshots or other services, it could very well be a beneficial long-term investment and help to secure work for the future.