Get to work, COVID-19 edition.

Get to work, COVID-19 edition.

Well Well Well… look where we are today. Many of us are sequestered at home (some voluntarily and some not), in an effort to quell the spread of COVID-19, nearly all of my photographer friends have stopped seeing clients and are spending their time looking for something to do. I have compiled a list of ideas to direct your time toward while we wait for this all to blow over.

Learn a new skill

Many companies including Adobe are offering one or two month free subscriptions to their services while we wait for the virus to run its course. Embrace this and head over to YouTube to find a multitude of tutorials and classes to help you learn a new skill. I am taking time to hone my skills at illustrator CC, it is something I have always wanted to learn more about and that has been occupying my days. Right before the virus hit, I happened to buy a course on illustrator CC and I have been working my way through it. As a photographer, I never saw the real draw for illustrator other than making logos. It may not be a skill I use every day in my creative life, but it is something I wanted to learn to do. You could also consider buying a plugin like Luminar from Skylum Software and learning to use that. There are a ton of tutorials for any plugin on the market on YouTube, so your only cost is for the software if you go the free tutorial route.

If you are one of those people that don’t believe in the monthly subscription model, now might be a great time to take a look at Photoshop and Lightroom to determine if they are a good fit for your workflow (spoiler alert: they are)

Start a new photography project

Even when we aren’t locked down for a pandemic, I am a huge advocate for starting an ongoing photography project. I have a few going at any one time and while I am out and about I bring my camera and take a picture if I see something that works for one of my projects. You don’t have to choose one, start a couple. Some of my favorites are:

  • 365 – shoot an image every day for a year but don’t repeat anything. This is a big challenge and will require you to do a lot of research on different photography styles.
  • One shot – Take a walk with your camera to a cool place but only shoot one image in manual mode. This will force you to be very picky about the composition and careful with your exposure. Don’t cheat, this is a tough challenge.
  • One Location – Choose a tree or bench or other object and shoot it every day for a week/month/year. You will find the challenge in getting an interesting shot each day. The challenge is to explore angles, time of day and composition.
  • Textures – One of the fundamentals of composition, texture is a fun aspect to shoot for. Seek out textures and explore the different times of day and notice how the light changes the feeling of the textures you are shooting. The added benefit of this exercise is that you can use the textures in photoshop if you do compositing.
  • One Light – explore studio photography using only one light. It is super easy to setup a bunch of lights and blast your subject with a bazillion lumens of light, try and find one light source – like a clamp light from the hardware store with a daylight balanced bulb and just use that. You will learn so much about lighting from this one exercise – you’re welcome.

Look at photography and learn about the masters

We are all awesome photographers, but we can also learn a lot from looking at the work of others. Look carefully at the light – was it shot outdoors? In a studio? What kind of light sources were they using? Learn about the process of photography, today we click the image and transfer it to our computer and develop in lightroom. What was it like to develop film? What are the challenges?

Copy an image

Find an image you like from a photographer you admire and try to copy it. This is an interesting challenge because it will force you to look at the image you are trying to copy in great detail. Choose something that is a challenge. Don’t use it in your portfolio though. Nobody likes a photographer who steals ideas. I’m betting that you will come up with a few new good ideas while you are trying to copy the original image.

What do you think? I would love to hear your ideas about projects or other constructive uses of your time that you are employing to keep busy during these crazy times. Drop me a message on my social media links below.

Hey! I love to hear from my readers! Feel free to follow and contact me via my social media sites I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any of my other articles! Until then, get out and get shooting! 

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