For nearly a decade I have worked every hour I could. To coin the phrase “I poured blood, sweat and tears” into building a business that I could be proud of. And there were tears on many occasion both happy and sad, stressed and joyful.
For nearly a decade I have missed events my friends have put on, weddings (oh the irony!) family milestones, and many occasions in order to provide a high end luxury wedding photography service for my Clients. Do I regret this? NO. Not one jot! I love my job and I love what I do.
I have paid my taxes on time, every time, and declared every penny earnt in full. All profits have then been ploughed back into my business to grow it. I don’t have 5 holidays a year. I think the last time we went abroad was to my cousin’s 40th birthday 5 years ago for a weekend and that was generously paid for by him. Thank you James!
I am incredibly proud of what I have built in 10 long years but this is all on the verge of being taken away from me in just a few short months. I think its important that everyone not directly involved in the wedding industry understands the impact of what is going on.
I was one of the lucky ones to receive both grants from the Government. However unlike being on furlough I didn’t receive these grants until the end of the time period. The grant from March to May was paid in May. The grant to cover June to August was paid in August. September and October appear to have been forgotten about. The grants were already low as my business had taken a hard hit over the past few years thanks to someone trying their utmost to destroy me. They have not succeeded. That’s another story for another day and believe me I will write it.
The new ‘grant’ for November to January for me (again what’s happened to September and October when furlough was still being paid?) is looking at c.£500. That’s not a week. That’s not even a month. That’s in total for three months. In the slowest earnings period of the wedding calendar.
For me this is c.£12.40 PER DAY! That’s £1.77 PER HOUR!!! £1.77 an hour based on days I could possibly work. So I haven’t included bank holidays or weekends in that number just Monday to Friday so it probably should be even lower. I can’t bear the thought of less than £1 an hour. And that’s before paying out for insurances, kit, tech, living and of course my taxes!
I am a highly trained professional wedding photographer. I’ve been awarded 139 awards at national competition level since January last year alone.
£1.77 doesn’t even buy me a Big Mac. Not the meal, it doesn’t even cover the cost of the burger. Imagine holding one of those in your hands all wrapped up. Nope doesn’t even cover that!
As a human being I didn’t ask for a pandemic, it was beyond my control and not my fault. As an industry we contribute £14.7 BILLION a year to the UK economy and employ over 400,000 people.
We’ve now been told that as an industry we are not ‘viable’ and that we should retrain! I kid you not. That’s like saying pubs and restaurants aren’t viable businesses in the future. Of course they are! Exactly the same as the wedding world. People fall in love. People get married. We as an industry love to serve on their wedding days. The pandemic and the restrictions imposed have created a storm over which my fellow wedding industry colleagues and I have no control and have to stand by watching it destroy everything we’ve worked for. Many will not survive.
For my Welsh colleagues and peers, we now hear in the last 24 hours that the Welsh Government have created a Welsh Culture Grant. That includes photographers but not wedding photographers? Go figure?!
I just don’t understand.
£1.77 an hour. Let’s just leave that hanging there.
I’m not one for whinging and boy this couldn’t be seen for one moment as a whinge. I do however want the wider world to understand why we are finding this all so hard. And I also wanted to say thank you to all my Clients for your unwavering support. You along with my family and dear friends have kept me going and have got me through so far. The business will survive and it will prosper once more despite a winter coming with zero work. I know sadly that a lot of wedding businesses will not.
My commitment to my Industry and importantly my commitment to my Clients…
I will never run out of creativity and I will never run out of energy.
I will never run out of ideas and I will never stop striving to be the best I can be.
I will never run out of ambition and I will always do my best.