Share Happiness Not Germs
When all of this started and the seriousness of the impact that COVID-19 would have on my income sunk in I went into "Okay - we can figure this out, Vic," mode. I cancelled unnecessary subscriptions and I sat down and wrote out a budget - something I should have been doing all along but hadn't really worried about until recently. Then I considered updating my Esty shop with a few photos. So I started going through my hard drives and realized I had a ton of photos I had never shared anywhere... and loaded them into one gallery. This shot isn't in the gallery - but it does hang above my desk and it makes me SUPER happy. I'm hoping there's at least one photo in the gallery that sparks joy for you as well.
I realized that a lot of people are in the same boat I am. The boat of "every dollar I make could be the last dollar I make for awhile" boat. Looking through the gallery I started to feel a little better. Probably because I wasn't overwhelming myself with COVID news, answering texts from frantic clients, or staring at my spring calendar wishing I had written things down in pencil. Instead I was thinking about how pretty it is here in the fall, how Waterrock Knob has the best sunsets, and how pretty Rainbow Row is even when it rains.
SO I decided that instead of loading every image to Etsy I would share the links to the gallery and ask people to "Pay What You Can" for access to them. Monetary Payments made to Venmo (Victoria-McFall-1) or to PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) help ensure I still have some income coming in while North Carolina is under a mandate that says non-essential business must halt. As of now, that's until April 29th. Which means that coming out of my "off season" these mandates happened right when I would have started picking up for my spring season, one of my two busy seasons for the calendar year. Spring wedding season/portrait season is now non-existent and I haven't even allowed myself to calculate how much income I'm actually losing - I don't want to know if I'm being honest.
As of now at least five weddings have officially postponed until fall of 2020 or Spring of 2021, which means that not only is that income delayed but those are wedding dates I won't be able to add new clients to for 2021. So paying $5, $10, $100, or $155098.72 (if you're a millionaire without anywhere else to spend your money) all goes to our monthly bills right now and groceries until this summer (hopefully) when things normalize.
The printable sizes can be found in this gallery and the size that works best for phone wallpapers and social media pages (like cover photos or sharing on Instagram) can be found here. I would LOVE to be tagged if you post online so I can see where they end up. If you order prints, please send me a photo of where it ends up in your home one day. The images in this post aren't all of the images in the gallery - and if you make one donation or leave one review you are still welcome to download all of them. I'll add more to it as I clean out hard drives, so save the link.
For those of you who love the photographs but are like me and can't afford to spend money on anything but the necessities until this is all over, I would love if you could leave a review on my Facebook Page, on Google (just go to Google and type "Victoria Grace Photography" into the search bar - you'll see the business page pull up and a "write review" option), on The Knot, or on Wedding Wire.
You can also copy and paste the review onto the other areas so that you only actually have to "write" one. By doing so you help with my SEO (which is basically just how quickly I pull up in online searches) and you also may end up being the deciding factor between myself and other photographers. Plus, everyone likes to read nice things about their businesses.
Other ways you can support my family during this time are to;
1. Purchase a gift card for a future session. Right now they are $100 off (so for a $450 session the gift card cost is only $350). They are delivered on the back of a pretty beach sunrise picture so it doubles as something pretty for your fridge or desk.
2. You can make payments on your weddings for late 2020 and 2021 if you can. Some people prefer to do things in small payments anyhow. I'm thankful to the couples who have already done this - it has been so helpful in minimizing the from spring income being postponed/cancelled.
3. You can share my blog posts/business posts to help me reach new potential customers for when this dies down. This blog post (the one you're reading) is a great one to share to your social media or with your friends. Please & Thank You!
4. You can like and comment on FB and Instagram posts (truly - this is SO helpful).
5. From now until April 30th you can vote "Victoria McFall" for best photographer via Mountain Xpress' Best of WNC contest. You must also vote for 29 other local businesses. Soon I'll be sharing who I voted for and why (I'm telling you - it was so, so hard to narrow down some categories because I know so many talented people).
6. Brooklynn's OT will be moved to home for at least another month and while we purchased the big things (that hopefully insurance will reimburse for) there are a few things left on her wish list left. A friend and one of my brides suggested I make a wish list and share it to her group and a few things were purchased from people already so there's only a couple of things left. I can not wait to be able to pay this all forward soon.
Many, many people have suggested I do Front Porch Sessions/Front Porch Portraits/Pandemic Porch Portraits/etc - but they aren't something I'll be doing even though they were a great idea started up north a few weeks ago and even though there are many, many photographers doing them. I've seen news articles from all across the US about them and they are all over social media, but just because something is trending doesn't mean it's right (or right for me and my family).
All of you.
For every single thing you've done to support my family and I during this time.
From buying hand-me-downs to sending me encouraging texts to purchasing gift cards to downloading images to sharing posts and all of the things in between.
[Our family photos by Jen Burrell Photography]