Right before lockdown started in the islands...
Derek and I had gotten all of our work together and drafted an ad campaign to launch on ACTUAL platforms, like Google and Facebook and Instagram. We were already on travel websites that advertise experiences hosted by locals (AirBnB isn't the only one, for anybody that has unique experiences to offer tourists in your area. AirBnB Is by far the most expensive, though. If you want a list of the places we advertise so you can know what direction to head in for yourself, shoot me an email! I'm happy to help), and while we were gaining a LOT of traction there, it just wasn't enough. Derek agreed it was time for large scale advertising, and we were all set to do it after we got back from our family trip to Big Island in March.
In the middle of our trip, lockdowns were ordered across all of the islands. 14 day quarantines were mandatory for inter-island travel. Everything lurched to a really painful stop. This is pretty much everyone's story, and we're VERY lucky that Derek's day job is with the army, and we're stable. For me, though, all of the platforms that I was advertising on shut down.
I'm not writing this to complain, I'm actually REALLY thrilled about the timing. A bunch of things happened with Derek's career that gave us a month of thinking we'd be moving one place in less than a year (Germany. The dream!), and that month was swallowed by the reality of a newer, more important position change that will be moving us back to the mainland in, as of the day of this writing, 66 days or less. We would have invested a lot of advertising money into a place where we won't even be for the long duration of the campaign. It happened to work out in our favor that we waited.
Our hands were pretty well tied about shuttering up our hired photography, though. The places I DO advertise shut their doors, and thus mine shut with them. Could I have advertised locally on the sly? By word of mouth? For sure. I opted not to. Derek got a little bit annoyed about all of the photographers we'd see doing senior shoots out and about, but I told him that the decision to not put our names out there was a very conscious one on my part. Not because of fear of catching COVID-19, we're very low risk, after all, and photography is so easy to keep physically distanced for...but because we are so lucky to be financially stable enough for me to pass up money making opportunities. I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure that photographers who still have to be on their grind regardless of health because they have to pay bills had the chance to do so without me taking it away. I'm sure that sounds egotistic, as if everybody was going to hire me unless I took my name out of the hat. I know that's not the case, but I know I would have gotten SOME gigs. It just doesn't sit well with me that I'd be vying for the same things that other people need more than I do.
But isn't this the same thing when there ISN'T a pandemic? Aren't I competing with people who need it more than me every damn day? Yes. Yes, I am.
But I am a LOT more sensitive and caring during a pandemic, it seems. But uh, when this is a lot more leveled out, and I've settled back down on the mainland? I am ABSOLUTELY coming for those gigs, and launching my campaign.
We have VERY slowly started shooting again, and we've kept our physical distance (again, easy to do in this line of work) and kept our masks on (friendly reminder: WEARING A MASK IS NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT. DO NOT BE RIDICULOUS. WEAR A MASK IF YOU ARE NOT AT HOME), and we've quarantined for two weeks after each shoot. So we've only done three. But it's been REALLY nice to get back to work. I am really looking forward to settling down in our new location in a little over two months and getting back to work for real, whenever health allows.