Greetings fellow photogs! As I’m sure you all know, Governor Holcomb has issued a Stay-At-Home order, effective through April 30. If you’re anything like me, you’re already getting a little stir-crazy. You may not be photographing newborns or weddings anytime soon, but look on the bright side. Now is your chance to hone some new skills! It can be easy to fall into the trap of laying in bed all day watching Netflix (nothing wrong with that, either), but there are plenty of things we creatives can do to stay productive! We just have to get a little… creative. So here’s a reminder to put on a fresh pair of PJ’s and brush your hair, and we hope you appreciate this list of 10 things photographers can do while social distancing!
1. Landscape and Nature Photography
Despite the stay-at-home order, going on walks is still encouraged. Take this time to connect with nature and breathe some fresh air. You might get some cool shots out of it, too. While you’re out on a hike, take some pictures of the surrounding landscape. You’d be amazed by how beautiful Indiana is when seen with an artistic eye. Never tried landscape photography before? Here is a guide to get you started. But remember, there is no wrong way to make art!
2. Macro Photography
Confined to our homes, the world seems to have shrunk. I might be crazy, but let’s make it even smaller. It’s easy to notice and appreciate a gigantic waterfall or a rainbow in the sky, but what about the fine details? There’s a hidden world waiting to be discovered in the genre of macro photography! Now is the time to appreciate the little things in life. You don’t need a dedicated macro lens, but if you have one, that’s great! Here is a great article explaining alternate ways to achieve macro photography.
3. Creative Self-Portraits
Everyone’s honed their selfie skills by now, but let’s take it to the next level. Show me your creative self-portraits! You can do some amazing things with a tripod. Don’t have a tripod? If you have to use a table or a stack of boxes, no one will know! Simply use your camera’s self timer or a remote. Some cameras even come equipped with WiFi that connects to your phone. It may take some trial and error, but the possibilities are endless. Here is a self-portrait I took in college, an eight hour exposure taken while I slept. Who knew you can make art and snore at the same time?
4. Product Photography
Product photography is a great skill to have in any photographer’s arsenal. Not only do you not have to interact with another person (where are my introverts at?), but it’s also a great potential source of income. The best part is, there are so many valid ways to shoot products! Get creative with it and have fun. You can use whatever you have around the house, like hot Cheetos or even napkins. Create a backdrop for it, build a lightbox, or give it an environment! There are never too many tools one can have in their belt.
5. Listen to a podcast
Podcasts are a great source of entertainment and information. All you have to do is sit back and listen. Many photographers I know are taking this time period to continue their education and this is a great way to do so. I personally love finding new podcasts to listen to in the car. Listed below are three of my favorites:
6. Watch Your Favorite YouTubers
YouTube knows we’re all sitting at home twiddling our thumbs, so content creation has never been more prolific. As a beginner photographer, YouTube helped flatten the learning curve for me (#FlattenTheCurve). There is a ton of valuable, free information on YouTube and that’s nothing to be scoffed at. From behind-the-scenes videos to in-depth tutorials, there is a wide variety of content on the platform. Here are some of my favorite photographers on YouTube:
Jessica Kobeissi, fashion photographer
Peter McKinnon, photography & videography
Irene Rudnyk, fashion & creative portraiture
PiXimperfect, Photoshop tutorials
Michael Sasser, boudoir
Mango Street, gear review & tutorials
Samuel Elkins, portraiture & commerical work
7. Take an online class
Maybe you’re looking for something more extensive than a podcast or a YouTube video. There are countless online classes and workshops out there waiting for you, too many to list in this article. Creative Live and Lynda are both great resources for creatives. Additionally, here is an article by Adorama listing 10 free online photography courses.
8. Read a book
If you have the attention span for it, pick up a new book to read. Here are a few books on photography you might want to check out.
Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon
Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs by Ansel Adams
The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone by Lindsay Adler
The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield
Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes
9. Create or update your website
Haven’t had time to update your portfolio? Have a FAQ page you’ve been meaning to add to your website? You’ll never have more time than the present to get those things done. I personally recommend Squarespace for photographers looking to build clean, professional websites, but there are several options to choose from. If you checked out the YouTubers I mentioned above, most of them have 10% off codes. Use this extra time to optimize your SEO or start a blog!
10. Conceptual Fine Art Photography
If all else fails, try your hand at conceptual photography. You don’t need anything or anyone in particular, just your imagination! You can create with whatever you have available to you. Start with a concept or idea and decide on the best way to communicate that idea. The end results doesn’t matter as much as the process. Here are some prompts from John Baldessari to get you started!