Story from a self-employed photographer, Sara Jane Mccabe - Shutterbaby Photography
It seems crazy to me that it was only two months ago that the UK was talking about having to put the country on lockdown effectively turning mine and hundreds of thousands of other self employed workers lives upside down. I am a self-employed photographer, photographing babies, children and families – ShutterBaby Photography – and the social distancing rules meant that overnight I basically had no business. I was not going to be able to resume photography again until some unknown time in the future when the virus was under control.
I spent those first couple of weeks in a really difficult headspace, a place I had never been before and didn’t know how to process or cope with. Previously I had dealt with two redundancies and a change of career (from accountant to photographer) but I had never known stress like this. It made my whole body tense up and ache, and the amount of chocolate I got through was insane! I struggled with explaining it to friends….it felt like my baby had been ripped away from me, my purpose for getting up in the morning taken away, my reason for existing suddenly was no longer there. I am someone who needs to talk through things to process them, but most of my employed friends couldn’t understand why I was struggling so badly and so I knew I had to turn my mindset around myself.
Turning a negative into positive...
After some time had passed, and once the government had announced the help for self employed people I was able to see a little clearer. I knew I was in a much better position than most people, having financial help, a roof over my head, food in my fridge… and no kids to home school! I could either sit at home dwelling on the loss of my business or know that this was only temporary and I could use this time productively. So that’s when I was able to turn my mindset from a negative into a positive one (well mostly, I still have my down days!!). I saw it that I was being given this time to work on the things in my business I didn’t normally have time for like my website and my marketing, and to catch up on training I had purchased but never got around to watching.
In my baby, child and family photography business I concentrated on updating my website as my photos were 3 years old, and adding new marketing activities into my workflow. I have also been meaning for a year to launch my new branding photography business ShutterMe Photography (www.shutterme.co.uk) where I help small business owners tell the story of their brand, attract their ideal client and increase their sales. I am so grateful for the time I have been gifted to be able to do some additional training and design my website – so my business is ready to launch once social distancing rules have been relaxed.
Uncertainty is always there...
Of course I am still worried about the uncertainty around when I can start photographing my lovely families again (as well as being able to socialise and travel!!) but I know that focusing on the positive and doing productive things in my business means that when I am able to get back to photography I will be in the best possible position to hit the ground running. I wish I could also say that my change in mindset also resulted in me eating less chocolate…. but hey I’m only human!!!
Sara-Jane McCabe is a professional portrait and brand photographer based in South London, capturing beautiful photos of babies and families and helping small businesses to tell their story through authentic, on-brand images.