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Quarantine photography: Staying creative during coronavirus lockdown
The coronavirus outbreak paused everything and put the world on lock-down. It was a photographer’s nightmare. Landscape, street, nature, and event photography were very limited, and often near impossible. This gave us a different perspective and made us realize that sometimes we need to stay creative, even when stuck at home. Quarantine photography can be great, and you can continue to thrive in your career.
I’ve been hiding behind walls too, but this doesn’t mean my photography career (and hobby) is on halt. On the contrary, the situation has pushed me to learn and find great images in otherwise ordinary subjects. I’m polishing my eye for composition, thinking outside the box, taking great photos, and even making money. All from home! I have some tips for you, so keep reading.
Activities for quarantine photography:
1. Take advantage of free courses
Photographers can’t get comfortable. Constantly evolving and improving is part of our nature. With so much downtime, we must work on learning more. Thankfully, many companies and influencers are supporting the community by offering free photography courses. Here are some of the best ones.
- MIT Open Courseware Introduction to photography and related media: MIT runs a series of free courses. This one is full of course materials covering the basics of photography.
- MIT Open Courseware documentary photography and photojournalism: Here’s another great course for more advanced photographers who would like to get into media and journalism.
- Udemy: This website specializes in hosting online courses. Their selection of classes is outstanding, and many of these are free. They also offer paid courses for when you are ready for more advanced content.
- Alison photography courses: Alison offers a wide selection of courses covering many subjects, including photography. They offer free access to the classes, but you can pay for certification, removing ads, printed diplomas, and other extras.
2. Learn from blogs, YouTubers, and other influencers
While paid courses have much to offer, the internet is full of free material. For starters, here at Android Authority, we create plenty of quarantine photography educational content. There are also amazing YouTube personalities you can follow to fine-tune your skills and get new ideas. Let’s give you some recommendations.
- Android Authority: Here at AA, we love creating educational content for you, and we have a photography series you will love.
- Joey Lawrence: He’s hands-down my favorite photographer. Not only because of his great shots and successful career, but because he lets his passion take him places few of us would step foot on. Check out his blog and YouTube channel to be mesmerized by great stories.
- Peter McKinnon: Peter is a photography YouTube superstar for good reason. His content is fresh and very educational. You will also enjoy his fun personality and enthusiasm. Not to mention his magic tricks!
- The Art of Photography: Ted Forbes is a recognized photographer with a long background in the industry. This channel is great for appreciating this art more genuinely, looking past modern tendencies and tech.
- Jared Polin: The creator of Fro Knows Photo is one of the best photography educators online. His fun personality makes videos hilarious, and his hair is totally out of this world.
- Tony & Chelsea Northrup: This photography couple is great at displaying more than just tips and reviews. They often uncover the business side of photography, which many of us can be really bad at.
- Kai Wong: Kai Wong is funny, entertaining, and very relatable. He focuses mostly on the tech side of photography, though. Kai is a great YouTuber if you’re looking for new tech or want to stay in the loop.
- Fstoppers: Fstoppers is an essential YouTube channel to follow for any photographer. They feature all kinds of content, from tech reviews to tutorials, interviews, and featured content. A huge community also backs them, so you’ll have a great time joining conversations with a plethora of fellow photographers.
- Photography Online: This show is run by a team of professional photographers. Content is high-quality, and each video lasts about an hour. This means you get plenty of educational material, tech reviews, activities, and even giveaways.
3. Create your own content!
Quarantine is forcing people indoors. This means there are plenty of photographers without work and a handful of aspiring photographers with free time. If you are a seasoned photographer with tips and tricks to share with the community, you can also create your own content!
YouTube is a great platform for sharing your photography knowledge with others. And while they won’t be paying you directly, building an audience and enabling advertising can create passive income. In addition, you can use services like Patreon to get help from your viewers, or share your PayPal details to accept donations. You could even go the formal route and sell your classes and tutorials in digital form. This is a great alternative to actual quarantine photography.
4. Try your hand at macro photography
If the lock-down doesn’t allow you to see the big picture, focus on the small one. We have much to learn from the little things in life, and beauty is found in all objects. Macro photography is about shooting small things up close. Surely you have flowers, textured walls, pets, and many other cool-looking objects to use as subjects.
We have a full article on macro photography and how to do it, so give it a read by clicking the button below.
5. Shoot some portraits and studio photos
We know you can’t exactly be receiving guests at home, but shooting portraits can be a very lucrative business, and you can get started practicing right now. You can set up a studio at home and shoot all kinds of solid background portraits. Acquiring cool backdrops is also possible if you really want to get into it. You could even start something more interesting, like pet portraits. The photo above was shot by our own David Imel in a small room. You can do awesome things indoors!
6. Build a product photography portfolio
Product photography is a very lucrative market. If you have a good eye for photographing objects, you should give this one a go. You can later work on finding clients, as the market is on hold, but if you can build a portfolio, it will help for future business.
Pick your subject! It can be anything anyone would want to sell. Got milk? Photograph it. Throw in some Oreo cookies and make it look like an ad. Or shoot your phone. Maybe your vacuum cleaner! Literally, anything that people buy and sell will work. I shot the image above with packaging paper and a white table. It could even be a solid white background!
7. Make passive income with stock photography
Those who like the idea of passive income should get into stock photography. People need photos for advertising, design, content, and more. These usually don’t sell for much, but they can sell multiple times and get you good earnings in the long run. It’s not always cost-effective to hire a photographer for each shoot, so companies go to stock photography libraries (now online) to find usable images. That’s where you come in!
Much like in product photography, you can shoot stock quarantine photography of anything. I shot the image above to use in an article showing you what you should and shouldn’t use to clean your phone. If a dedicated photographer weren’t around, the website would have paid for the rights to use a very similar stock photo. You could also photograph food, random household items, tools, textures, tech, and more. And while the topic is hot, you might even want to shoot some virus-related images.
8. Sell your editing talent!
If you are a photographer, you likely know how to edit. That is a talent people pay money for. And while you can’t go edit at some office or meet with clients, the internet can help you find editing work from home. For starters, you can use the internet, social media, and advertising to promote your work.
9. Re-edit old images
As mentioned earlier, photographers are constantly evolving. I have become a better photo editor with time and love retouching old images. Results are almost always better than in the past, not to mention I get to test new and creative edits. Try that black and white. Make the colors warmer/colder. Go nuts with quarantine photography editing!
Editing software tends to evolve too. Maybe there are now new features and tools you didn’t have before! Or maybe now you have better hardware and accessories for improved editing.
10. Improve your smartphone photographs
Haven’t we always heard the best camera is the one you have with you? It’s very true. I tested this first-hand when I decided to take a cheap phone and get the best results I can out of it. Even affordable phones can take amazing photos nowadays, so try to get more acquainted with the phone’s capabilities so you will be ready when the perfect shot appears with no serious camera within reach.
Stay creative, fellow photographers. It’s a tough world out there, and we will need creatives to tell this story. Let’s stay safe and reflect upon our work. This is also a great opportunity to fine-tune our skills to better serve society with quarantine photography.