Most wedding and event photographers in Ireland have closed their businesses and don't have any client bookings until the autumn. Many fear that their firms will collapse unless State aid is extended.
These are among the conclusions of the first survey of 780 wedding, portrait, commercial and art photographers and videographers working in Ireland.
Nearly two-thirds of the mostly sole traders have had to close down their operations since mid-March because the events they cover have been cancelled or postponed, including weddings and corporate events.
Seven out of every 10 photographers surveyed by the Irish Professional Photographers and Videographers Association are forecasting it will take one to two years for their business to recover - by which time they may have taken a job outside the industry.
Association president Kevin Kheffache said most photographers are now dependent on the State's €350 a week Pandemic Unemployment Payment - currently slated to end on June 20.
He called on the Government to extend that pay for photographers whose normal subject matter has fallen victim to social distancing.
Photographers understand why big weddings and other social events can't happen for the foreseeable future, he said, "but the impact it's having on our members is catastrophic".
"The majority of our members are self-employed and, in the case of professionals who support the portraiture, press, commercial and wedding industry, it is very unlikely that they will be allowed to work in social settings at any meaningful level in the short to medium term," he said.
Wedding photographer Finn Mooney, who is based in Edenderry, Co Offaly, says he is normally booked solid for two years in advance and shoots about 45 weddings annually at a charge of around €2,000 to €2,500 per job - including occasional four-day trips covering lavish nuptials from the Italian Riviera to the Adriatic.
He also teaches photography at colleges in Mullingar and Tullamore.
But once the shutdowns hit, Mr Mooney lost his teaching work and has seen bookings "fall like dominoes". He closed down on March 11 and applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Weddings have proved especially vulnerable to virus shock, because they typically are planned a year or more in advance and depend on the availability of churches and hotels.
While many industries are looking to June 29 or August 10 as dates when they might resume trade, for Mr Mooney the next date of relevance is October 2 - the first of his booked weddings this year not yet cancelled.
Couples who had hoped to marry this year are now scrambling to book churches and hotels for 2021, but even this often is proving impossible, making it hard to plan ahead.
"Next year's dates are already crazy," he said.
He considers the offer of State-subsidised loans - part of the Covid-19 support umbrella - as impractical for small photography firms.
"The business is not liquid, so taking on a loan would not be smart. We don't know when we'll have liquidity again. It could be next year," he said. "That uncertainty is such a big issue. Are we going to be financially viable at all? Photographers who have closed shop, will they come back?"
For now, he hopes the next Government press conference will include greater clarity. Each time the Taoiseach or Health Minister Simon Harris holds a press conference, Mr Mooney says he loses more bookings. Weddings booked for December have become the latest casualties.
"Every time they speak and don't give any clarity on weddings," he said, "the wedding industry dries up more."