It has taken us a while to respond, but respond we must!
We are all going through some tough times, and we're not writing to mope about it. Along with many other businesses we know, we have stopped most of our operations and are working from home. So the question is, what is Studio Lumen doing during the Covid19 Pandemic?
While of course we are trying to find ways of keeping the lights on, we feel really strongly about making sure our entire small business community here in Calgary survives this threat - which is really unprecedented, and indeed truly existential for a lot of entrepreneurs. People need cash now, but also help to bounce back once this all passes.
So, what does that look like?
We have several initiatives we hope will be useful. Not all of them will resonate I'm sure, but we are trying our best, and looking forward to the future!
Here are 6 things we're doing right away, click each link to read more. As time goes by I'm sure these will change and evolve (hopefully more than the virus itself).
When the Covid19 Pandemic seriously hit home, and the gravity of the situation became apparent, we gotta admit we were somewhat overwhelmed. Most of our projected shoots disappeared, and we were at a loss of what to do. It was obvious we were not alone though, and our first instinct was to wonder: what are other people doing? And our second instinct was: this is a story we MUST tell! We have the knowledge and skill, and we think it would be valuable to our fellow business owners to know they are not alone, and to inspire them with ideas, strategies, and positivity.
Originally devised as an in-person interview, conducted at a safe distance greater than 2 metres, and so requiring "weirdly wide" image composition, it became apparent that even that was ill-advised, so we jumped online. But the name stuck!
Our first guest is Jarrod Stanton, our business coach, from Action Edge Business Coaching. Jarrod and his colleagues are uniquely positioned to share inspiring stories and strategies from the many clients he has helped and is in particular helping right at this moment. We actually split his interview into two episodes because there was so much great content.
So please stay tuned for the first two episodes of the Studio Lumen Weirdly Wide sessions. They are a bit rough, as our first ones, and we'll improve it as we go.
Paying it forward (LITERALLY!)
We are not the only ones doing this, but it's such a helpful idea, we have decided to implement a Pay it Forward gift card campaign: we will literally buy you a gift card to a local business, which you can choose from a list (sugggestions on businesses having a hard time welcome!), every time someone books one of the following services:
A Headshots Experience Day slot, for our next Headshots Experience Day on June 5 (if we can't do it by June 5th, we'll reschedule in two week increments until it is safe to run it). New pricing structure coming soon as well.
Our brand new service, the Pandemic Sessions - a 45 minute outdoor no-contact physically distanced personal lifestyle shoot - basically the only thing we can safely do at this time. Designed to be safe, affordable, and to get people out of the house. More info in a coming post
Our regular personal lifestyle shoots, to be completed after restrictions are lifted.
We will update soon with more details on businesses we're supporting, and value of gift cards. Stay tuned to social and this blog.
Many business owners and professionals have been planning to learn things for ages, to be empowered to better understand and manage their online visual presence. We know this, because of the response we get from our colleagues to our workshop ideas.
While ideally we'd host workshops for many in person, we have of course been forced to move online. But this comes with a plus side: we can customize and offer a wider array of things for people to learn!
We'll let you know very soon what we'll be offering.
Booking Retainer Restructuring
One of the things that is hard for our clients these days is the uncertainty in booking their event or shoot, as well as the cash flow to pay for it. Usually our booking retainer is 50% of the estimate or quote, non-refundable (but re-schedulable - is that even a word?), but until this is all over, we are freeing that up a little bit. Effective immediately and until further notice, our payment structure is as follows:
25% non-refundable deposit on booking date, but transferrable to another date or even to another service;
25% a short time before the shoot date, once we know it will go ahead; and
Remaining 50% on completion of the work.
We hope this helps our clients with the uncertainty as well as the cash flow for their needs! Inquire to know more.
In this time of self-isolation, I'm sure many of us are going a bit stir-crazy. So we've designed a new kind of photo shoot, meeting the following criteria:
100% conservative in safety: more than 3 metres away from us at all times, no contact, no equipment sharing
Cost-effective: less expensive than our regular personal lifestyle shoot
Outdoors: The safest place to be right now, so that we don't touch door handles or other 'building' related items others have touched.
We'll post an upcoming blog on what this is exactly very soon!
For our friends in the manufacturing space, this might be a time where they're looking at refreshing their e-commerce photos to help with sales. We have developed another new, lower cost, product photography service: our Product Drop-Off service. We wanted to help our clients with a low-cost and low-germ option, to keep them doing what they do best, and let us take care of the photography. We will provide more detail on what this looks like in a separate post!
We need your help, RIGHT NOW. Here is how:
Send us your suggestions on small businesses you know are struggling, and who you think most could benefit from our Pay if Forward campaign
Let everyone in your network know about these efforts, starting by sharing this blog post.
Listen to our new show and (we hope!) be inspired!