If you have the luxury of planning your pregnancy as a wedding photographer, you also have the luxury of contemplating how you want to approach the following situation. If you’ve found out that you’re pregnant – SURPRISE! You get to decide on how you’re going to approach this situation pretty darn quickly. I’m talking about how to deal with your clients when you find out you’re pregnant.
If you’re planning your pregnancy…
As mentioned above, if you are planning a pregnancy as a wedding photographer and have yet to become pregnant, you’re in the position to have a choice about how you want to proceed. How you choose to proceed will depend on how you feel about “cancelling” and it’s effect on your brand, your client relationships and your financial situation.
Method 1: “Go with the flow + cancel if necessary”
Just keep doing that you’re doing. Accept booking and basically pretend like you’re not trying to get pregnant. Life goes on. The advantage to this method is that in the event that you can’t get pregnant right away, you’re keeping the cash flow adequate to pay for, well, you know – LIFE! Rent is still due and groceries still need to be purchased. One of the downfalls of this method, though, is that once you get pregnant you need to decide on your black-out zones and cancel those clients. Yes, you may have clients that are mad at you. Yes, you may have to reach into a line of credit for the money to give people back their deposits if you’ve been spending all that money right away. You also need to decide if you’ll proceed with cancelling IMMEDIATELY after finding out you’re pregnant or waiting until you’re around 14 weeks and into the second trimester when it’s typically “safer” and the chance of pregnancy loss is minimal.
If you’re not sure how to start communications with your client, I’ve written email templates for pregnant wedding photographers that you may find helpful.
Method 2: “Stop booking all clients until you get pregnant and know what your due date will be.”
I like to refer to this method as the “rolling blackout” method. Basically you only accept weddings that are 6/7 months ahead of time, tops. Everything else you refer elsewhere as you’re preparing for those “blackout zones” that you’ll have to put in place once you’re pregnant. The advantage to this method is that you don’t have to worry about angry clients and threats of bad reviews if you have to cancel. The down fall? You’re putting your financial stability in jeopardy.
If you’re already pregnancy…
Method 1: Canceling your existing clients
When you find out that you’re pregnant; whether you were trying or you’ve received a little surprise, you need to cancel your existing clients whose dates fall within the “blackout zone”. There’s no getting around this. This is happening. You’re having a baby. You don’t want to give birth on the dancefloor. Refer to “method 1” above for the advantages and disadvantages of cancelling but honestly, you’re kind of stuck with this choice regardless of the disadvantages because….
Method 2… uh…. well, there isn’t really a method 2 if you’re already pregnant.
Whether you choose method 1 or 2 or whether you’re planning a pregnancy or just found out you’re pregnant, the important thing to remember is to be considerate of the fact that if you have to cancel on a client, give them as much notice as absolutely possible so that they can find an adequate replacement. Provide them suggestions for people who you think would be a good it and who are available and when it comes to issuing their refund, make sure you are timeline in doing so.