PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A lot of entrepreneurs are struggling right now. Business is down and proving income to qualify for federal stimulus help and unemployment can be complicated.
Some Valley photographers got together to share a message of hope for their clients, for their industry, as we yearn to return to times worth celebrating and commemorating in pictures.
Anita McLeod came up with the idea to capture photographers in their homes, and on the other side of the lens for a change, each holding an 8 x10 paper with a single word spelling out a special message for their clients & families. It says, "We can't wait to capture your lives again soon. Until then, keep smiling and stay hopeful, Phoenix. Love, your local photographers."
"We have a big 'community over competition' motto," said McLeod. "We refer each other out, ask each other for shooting and location advice and we really like to work with each other."
Ryann Lindsey used to be an oncology nurse and nurse educator. She cashed out some of her 401K to start her photography business.
"I lost 17 kids in one year and completely forgot that there was positivity out there. I was going home crying every night and what I learned by picking up photography and starting this business, is that there are ways to document these memories and these pictures are such a gift," Lindsey said.
When COVID-19 shut down her shoots, she tried to get back into health care. She couldn't.
"It's amazing that there's (sic) layoffs in the nursing world. I always thought that would be my safety net and it's not really a safety net," Lindsey said.
With her wedding shoots being canceled for social distancing, she figures she's already lost about $20,000.
"I am a destination wedding photographer. I was supposed to be in Lake Como, Italy this June!" Lindsey said.
She's planning to try and float her business with headshots and home sessions to help her extended family who are all struggling with business closures and work furloughs as well.
"They say there are all these resources out there, but they're not quite as accessible as a lot of people think," Lindsey said.
That's why this hopeful collaboration being spread around on social media, means so much. Click here for a full list of participating photographers.
McLeod is also a hairstylist at Country Stylin Salon in Maricopa so it's been a double whammy. She did get to shoot a much smaller impromptu ceremony after one of her brides' venue canceled on them.
"We were able to go up to 'A Mountain' in Tucson and just capture a really cute ceremony with just her husband and her kids and immediate family, so she could at least have a wedding day because that day was very significant to her and her family," McLeod said.
And from engagements to weddings, to newborn babies and growing families, these local photographers are standing-by to celebrate with you on the other side of this.
"We just want everybody to know that we're still here and we can't wait to get back out there again and capture everybody's memories," said McLeod.
Valley photographers already lost income for their best weather month, so everyone's figuring we'll be looking at maybe smaller ceremonies in the coming months, couples eloping or narrowing down the invites to smaller guest lists. Everyone's just hopeful things will return to normal in time for the busy fall event season.