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Alisha Crossley has been photographing weddings for 11 years. In mid-March, when rumors of the impending coronavirus shutdown began to swirl, the photographer started receiving a flood of phone calls from panicked brides.
"We're following the news and looking at everything and we're starting to realize, you know, it's like you're watching the storm coming and we're realizing, OK, it's about to hit, it's about to get serious," Crossley told Fox News.
Crossley described April to June as prime wedding season and often accounts for 30 to 40 percent of her yearly revenue. So far, she has had to reschedule seven wedding shoots but, luckily, has had no outright cancellations.
As a way to stay relevant and spread a bit of joy, the Alabama-based photographer has been gifting free “front porch sessions” to some clients. These social distancing safe sessions consist of short photoshoots outside a family’s homes, often on their front porches or in their yards.
"It's been really nice to be able to go out and kind of gift people with the ability to document this time," she said. "You know, we've definitely had fun doing it. And of course, it keeps us in some ways relevant still."
While Crossley is doing everything she can to benefit the community, at the end of the day, she says she still has a business to keep afloat.
“It's so different as a business owner. We just hired [our managing director] Anna a year ago," the business owner said. "When you're no longer responsible for your own well-being and your family, but another family's well-being … I think there's a little bit more determination, maybe, in this season than there would have been a couple years ago, because I realize I'm not just fighting for my business, [I’m] fighting for her family too.”
Crossley came up with a variety of campaigns and got creative in the different ways she can continue to serve her clients, but there is only so much she can do.
“We've struggled with how to make sure we're serving our clients and being gracious and then also keeping our business sustainable,” she said.
With more couples continuing to postpone their weddings, there is a big concern that this will not only affect her 2020 bottomline but also her 2021 business, as she would be losing prime dates to already booked clients. Ultimately she remains positive but that may change depending on how much longer the shutdown continues. She is hoping the summer brings with it a return to normalcy and she can get back on track the last quarter of the year.
“Right now, we definitely still have a large sense of optimism. The longer that this goes on, of course, the more problematic and the more concerning, that narrative may change. Talk to me in six to eight weeks.”