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NEW: 2021 COVID Relief for Photographers

5 min read

Is your business still suffering the effects of the pandemic? New rules may finally provide COVID relief for photographers.

Financial help for your photography business

Many (if not most) photographers are still facing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But there’s some good news!

The Biden administration has announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) rules—changes that will help to sole proprietorships and other truly small businesses who have been financially impacted by the public health crisis.

Here’s what’s new:

A female entrepreneur is photographed for a personal branding session. In one frame, she wears a white dress and holds her laptop in front of her. In the next photo, she sits at a cafe table working on her open laptop.

Lisa Kay Creative Photography — Chicago personal branding photographer

Apply for your PPP loan by March 31, 2021

If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan, you must do so before March 31!

Even if you previously received a loan through COVID relief programs, you may qualify for loan forgiveness if you meet certain criteria. In other words, you may not have to pay back the loan as long as you comply with these rules:

  • you keep the same number of employees (if any) and maintain their compensation
  • the loan money is spent on payroll costs (along with some other eligible expenses)
  • at least 60% of the loan is spent on payroll

We strongly recommend that you involve your tax pro or CPA. They will help you navigate the application process.

A small business owner wearing jeans and a pink sweater stands in front of a graffiti wall in downtown Atlanta

Lisa Kay Creative Photography — Chicago personal branding photographer

You don’t have to be profitable to qualify for a loan

Previously, photographers struggled to get loans because they didn’t show a profit after paying expenses. Some small businesses were approved, but then received embarrassingly small loans because they were deemed “unprofitable.” (What the heck is anyone supposed to do with a $1 loan, anyway?)

Under the current administration, the Small Business Association will focus on your gross revenue—your earnings before any deductions are calculated. 

That’s great news for photographers who faced numerous session and event cancelations due to COVID-19.

“Getting our economy back means bringing our small businesses back,” President Biden stated.

A woman sits at a wine bar in her work attire as she answers emails on her smartphone

Lisa Kay Creative Photography — Chicago personal branding photographer

Loans for photographers (and other small businesses) take priority through March 9

Through March 9, 2021, the SBA have implemented a freeze on loans to companies with 20+ employees.

This means more funds and application assistance for sole proprietorships and independent contractors like you who suffered loss of income.

Now, more photographers can qualify for financial assistance

The SBA’s new loan eligibility guidelines empower more U.S. residents to apply for and receive funds. Through the end of March, 2021, you may receive this emergency assistance even if you:

  • have defaulted or are delinquent on a federal student loan
  • are not a U.S. citizen, but you are a lawful resident
  • have a recent felony conviction that is not related to fraud

These modifications “will bring much-needed, long-overdue help to small businesses who really need help staying open, maintaining jobs, and making ends meet. And this is a starting point, not the ending point,” said President Biden.

A female entrepreneur opens a bottle of champagne in her kitchen beneath a crystal chandelier. You'll have cause to celebrate, too, if you qualify for COVID relief for photographers.

Lisa Kay Creative Photography — Chicago personal branding photographer

Photography matters now more than ever

From the branding photographers who help other entrepreneurs succeed to the family photographers who capture life’s fleeting moments to the wedding photographers who turn milestones into fine art: life is richer because of you.

We promise to never let you forget it.

Apply for an SBA loan through the Paycheck Protection Program


Find relevant links through Professional Photographers of America

A woman business owner wearing jeans, a pink sweater, and a mustard yellow coat stands smiling against a massive wall of graffiti in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lisa Kay Creative Photography — Chicago personal branding photographer

Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by LISA KAY CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY via Two Bright Lights & BECCA TAPERT (cover)


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Budgeting & Finance
May 2021
Budgeting & Finance
Apr 2021

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