• mai leoncito

Finding success amid pandemic

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog. Despite the challenging experiences and adversity caused by the pandemic, I would say 2020 was an amazing year.


I honestly don't know where to start!


The first quarter of 2020 was quiet. Its winter time, and everybody is still usually recovering from the holidays.


So, I decided to try Glamour Photography, which is a blend of fashion and portrait photography.

My most recent Glamour Portrait model - Viola

Unfortunately, the latter part of March is when the lockdown was implemented. I was worried because I wasn't sure how I could possibly promote my business for family portraits when social gatherings were not allowed. I also cancelled my model call for glamour portraits since I could not invite people to come into my home studio. But I was fortunately able to complete the photos after the last model came in November, during a period when restrictions had been relaxed a little.

I am lucky to have my full-time job to help me get through these tough times. The truth is, I thought 2020 was going to be a total write-off, but it surprisingly turned out to be quite the opposite.



Bronwyn Petersen with the kids during the first lockdown in Alberta back in April 2020

I did a campaign called “Positivity in Sundre” in April of 2020 – our version of the famous porch-traiture series that circulated around the world of photography during the pandemic. The family photos I took will be donated to the Sundre & District Museum and are going to be featured as part of a showcase of our community's history. I also collaborated in October on a spooky-themed shoot at the same museum for Halloween involving a model who was transformed into something out of a horror movie by a talented makeup artist, Chantal Thornburn.


I decided to be adventurous because I'm certain that I will have at least one wedding to cover in August.


So I thought, why stop there?




Ms. Hayden Rattai back in October 2020 in our spooky themed collaboration.

Even though I previously had no formal experience covering weddings, I gambled and promoted my wedding package anyway. As expected, I had a difficult time getting a lead because I have no portfolio to show. It’s a valid concern, so I completely understood when anyone was reluctant to hire me. So to get the ball rolling, I sent out a model call and offered for a minimal rate full coverage of the wedding for up to 12 hours. This included the clients' engagement session and also granted them full access to the photos. In exchange, they agreed to grant me permission to feature their photos in my portfolio, ads, marketing and website. I was fortunate enough to find four couples who trusted me to be their wedding photographer. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to these newlyweds.



John and Irish wedding back in September 2020

Additionally, I worked with a few models and Filipino photographers over the summer. I collaborated with some businesses in the area like Wagons West RV Park & Storage, Zebedeez Hair and Makeup and Lashes by Sarra when we did a fun shoot in Sundre last September. Along the way, I met new families with amazing kids. One of them came from Kitscoty, Alberta, which is a four hour drive to Sundre. And among some of the others were a few return clients from past family portraits.


I also photographed a unique gala night for the high school grads, including their parade. It was really gratifying. The parents and organizing committee did a good job for making the graduation possible with all of the restrictions and limitations -- they thrived and succeeded.


Of course, not every day is good. There were bumps along the way. But the goodness from people I know outweighs the negativity from the few, which I have no control over anyway.


This year, I learned a lot from my full-time job as a business banker, as a photographer, as an entrepreneur and as an individual. I realized that you will not know how strong you are until that is the only option you have.


I hope everybody is having a great start of the year, and I'm optimistic that 2021 is going to be better than last year.


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