Monday, 25 May 2020
Photography income shot, but homestay is spectacular

A wedding is an event. A big, exciting, gorgeous event.

Every detail is considered, selected, scrutinised and then considered again until every nuance is in harmony with the couple’s theme, with the bride’s dream.

For many, the planning, the seeking out of every perfect detail and the organising of the wedding day has been a year-long journey.

And now many of those big events have had to be postponed due to Coronavirus restrictions.

The necessity is understood but the disappointment is real.

For businesses in the Fassifern which help orchestrate the perfect wedding, every weekend from Autumn through to early Summer, the postponements represent a huge loss of revenue.

At this time of year, professional photographer, Cas Miller’s life is normally governed by a bank of diary alerts on her computer.

“I’m usually booked so far ahead that I’m wondering where I can steal a few hours for myself in any given week,” Cas says.

“That’s not a complaint. I love what I do but it can get frenetic during the wedding season.”

I ask her to calculate how much time is dedicated to each wedding? 

She hesitates.

“I know if I add up all the hours I put into every wedding booking and then work out how much I really earn per hour it’s going to be laughable,” she says with a laugh in her voice indicating that no matter the answer, her commitment to her business, and to her clients, is unlikely to change.

“I guess you could say from the time of the first contact to the upload of the last photographs, I would spend 14 long, full days on each wedding.”

Cas Miller operates her business, Inc.Mill Photography from the home she shares with her husband, Giles, on the Miller family property at Moogerah.

Of the 25 weddings on calendar for Inc.Mill in the next eight months, only three remain on the books. The remainder have been postponed until next year.

“And all my corporate bookings have been cancelled,” says Cas. “These type of photography jobs normally involve me going into the workplace and photographing the teams in action or sometimes I photograph them working together out on location.

“That’s not possible now with most people working from home with only a few left in the workplace, so most of my corporate bookings have been cancelled.”

The rapidity of the restriction changes has made it difficult to define what professional photographers can and can’t do.

“As an industry we just seem to have sorted out what the latest restrictions mean to us, to define what it is we can and can’t do, when the rules change again,” says Cas.

“I know what is happening is all about keeping us safe and keeping our clients safe but it’s been confusing.”

The only work coming into Inc.Mill Photography now is from local artisans.

“They are selling on line and need photographs of their art pieces.

“We go through a complex routine to ensure social distancing and putting a safety barrier between works that are touched by the artists and then touched by me. First the artist boxes up the disinfected product they want photographed and then the box is placed in a location away from their home. It stays there for four days before I pick it up.

“I bring it home, photograph it and upload the photos to the artist.

“Then I clean the artwork down and box it up and put it back in the same location. It is left there for another four days before the artist picks it up and takes it home.”

Cas is still working on collating and editing photographs from pre-Covid-19 restriction jobs but once that’s finished … well that’s it for most of Inc.Mill’s work for the foreseeable future.

Then life will become all about the multitude of chores around the property always waiting for when there’s a ‘spare moment’.

“Giles is a fly-in-fly-out worker but he’s been home since Christmas due to an injury,” Cas says.

“We’ve started doing chores around the place that we have never had time to get done before.”

The Miller family property was in the ‘line of fire’ during the October to December bushfires so there’s plenty to be done.

“We’re so grateful that it’s rained. It’s taken the pressure off trying to find feed and finding the funds to buy it.

“We’re grateful that our water tanks are full and carting in water isn’t an expense we have to meet.

“And most of all, we’re grateful that our time of isolation can be spent on a property with wide open spaces and magnificent views.”