The coronavirus outbreak has the world on lock-down. This has become a photographer’s nightmare. Landscape, street, nature, and event photography are very limited, and often near impossible. But this doesn’t mean we can’t stay creative when confined to our homes.
If you need some tips to stay active and creative as a photographer during the COVID-19 quarantine, I’m here to give you some great tips and ideas.
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!
Take advantage of free courses
Photographers can’t get comfortable. Constantly evolving and improving is part of our nature, and with so much downtime it’s crucial we work on learning more. Thankfully, many companies and influencers are supporting the community by making their otherwise pricey courses free. Here’s a list of some great ones!
- Nikon School Online: Nikon usually sells its courses for $14-$50, but they made them free during April.
- Stay Home With Leicat: Leica is featuring a series of photography discussions, led by renown personalities.
- Home With Olympus: This program connects Olympus users with experts to get feedback, advice, and more.
- Professional Photographers of America: PPA is making all its content free until the end of May.
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 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 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 in a more genuine way, looking past modern tendencies and tech.
- Jared Polin: The creator of Fro Knows Photo is one of the best photography educators onkline. 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.
How about a challenge?
Photography organizations and personalities know you are having trouble staying creative, so many are holding challenges for you. They usually set topics and take submissions. These can later be rated, shared, or discussed online. This is a great way to think outside the box and create something from nothing. And you may even get some prizes!
- GoPro HomePro Challenge: GoPro is holding a great challenge in which you can win a Hero 8 Black or Max camera. And the photo doesn’t need to be shot with a GoPro!
- Sigma Shot At Home Contest: Sigma is holding a #SigmaShotAtHome contest. There are weekly, monthly, and grand prizes involved.
- Getty Art Recreation: This one is fun! And while there are no prizes, winners will be featured by Getty, a world-renown museum. The concept is simple: find art you like from their library and recreate it with house objects.
- The Art of Photography: Ted Forbes is also holding his own challenges. No prizes are involved, but then again, your work could be showcased in the channel.
- Peter McKinnon: If you want your work to be showcased in a YouTube channel with 4.6 million subscribers, here’s your chance!
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 there is beauty to be 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 what macro photography is and how to do it, so give it a read by clicking the button below.
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 are home doing nothing. Why not start practicing? 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!
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.
Make passive income with stock photography
Those who like the idea of having passive sources of income should get into stock photography. People need photos for advertising, design, content, and more. These 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 photos of anything. I shot the image above to use on an article showing you what you should and shouldn’t use to clean your phone. If a dedicated photographer wasn’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 photos.
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.
Re-edit old images
As mentioned earlier, photographers are constantly evolving. I have become a better photo editor with time and so I love grabbing old RAW files for retouching. 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!
Improve your smartphone photographs
Haven’t we always heard the best camera is the one you have with you? It’s very true. I have 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. It’s time to stay safe and reflect upon our work. It’s also a great opportunity to fine-tune our skills to better serve society with this lifestyle.
Here’s more photography content for you!
We also have plenty of recommendations for those looking to get new camera equipment!