It was a beautiful Saturday morning. I stared off out the window as I enjoyed the first sips of my morning coffee. I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful a day it was and the session that I was supposed to be having at that very moment.
Unfortunately it feels like I’m getting way too used to cancelations and postponements.This time was different though. You see, I had just received an email the day before letting me know that the couple wouldn’t be able to make it to the session because the groom-to-be had just tested positive for COVID-19.
The coronavirus has upended a lot of plans this spring, but that was my first cancellation directly related to someone having the virus. It really made me stop and think. What if I’d received that notification after the session? We do everything we can to be as safe as possible by sticking with outdoor sessions and using long lenses in order to keep our distance, but still, it made it all so real.
The one thing that makes more of a difference than anything is everyone monitoring their own health. I’ve seen it way too many times with photographers as well as couples trying to suck it up, especially on a wedding day, and go on with the events as planned. I’ve had a groom who threw up prior to the ceremony and not because he partied too much the night before. He ended up in the emergency room on his wedding night and spent several days in the hospital.
I’ve heard horror stories from other photographers about how they were sick but pushed through anyway. One wound up finding refuge under a covered table curled up in the fetal position just to get a few minutes away. Another photographer actually passed out in the aisle during the ceremony while battling the flu. They wear these stories like a badge of honor, but to me they’re a selfish act and disservice to their client.
We all want to tough it out and be the hero, but these days that’s just too dangerous. The last thing I want is to be responsible for someone else getting sick. You see, as a photographer our business is a personal business. Couples hire us to document their day. So we think we’re the only one that can capture those special moments for them. While we may be the best fit for their day, it’s pretty foolish for me to think that I can do as good a job as someone who’s feeling 100% healthy. I remember a few years ago, I had the flu and had two sessions and an initial meeting with a couple scheduled that weekend. Fortunately through my network of friends and colleagues, I was able to find someone with a similar style who filled in for me during that time so that I could focus on getting well.
There are a lot of things we can do to help maintain our health and safely do our jobs. The real key will be everyone doing their best to be conscientious and erring on the side of caution when it comes to their health. After all, no one wants COVID-19 as a wedding favor.