Quarantine. Lockdown. Shelter-in-place. Social distancing. These are just a few of the terms that have been thrust upon the world over the past few months as we’ve all been forced to adapt to a drastically different way of life due to the coronavirus outbreak.
It has certainly been disorienting to suddenly be stuck indoors and cut-off from our regular social interactions, and not knowing how long any of this will last just compounds the frustration.
All of this can take a toll on your creativity, but it doesn’t have to.
If you’re a photographer who’s struggling to stay creative while staying at home, here are a few ideas that will help carry you through the tough times.
If you’re stuck indoors with other people you’ve got a captive subjects! Whether it’s a partner, a family member or a roommate, take advantage of everyone’s abundant free time and do some portrait work.
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or intense — in fact, you should keep your portrait sessions as fun as possible and be sure to grab lots of candid shots. The people around you are equally stressed, so keep the mood light.
If you happen to live alone or the people you live with don’t want to participate in your portrait project, don’t sweat it — you’re all you need. Self-portraits are, for some, a form of therapy and the ultimate creative outlet. There are plenty of places you can look to for inspiration, but since you’re your own subject, just go all out, no limits. Try every idea that comes to mind.
Revisit Your Old Photos
It’s interesting how time can alter your perspective of your work. Shots that you may have liked at one time can now make you cringe. Shots that you may have once dismissed as not being very good might now reveal aesthetic qualities that you value.
And, as you scroll through your back catalog, you’re likely to rediscover shots that you didn’t use and subsequently forgot about.
Spend some time with these photos and consider a different crop, a conversion to black and white, a bump in contrast. You may come away with a new appreciation for a shot. Or you might still hate it. Either way, you’ve learned something about yourself and your work.
Read Books And Watch Documentaries About Photography
Photography books aren’t just about beautiful photos. The text that is included is of great value as well, giving readers some background on the individuals responsible for all those beautiful photos.
If you want to make your time staring at a screen more worthwhile, there is no shortage of photography documentaries to feast your eyes upon. From works centered on individuals like Bill Cunningham, Annie Leibowitz, Vivian Maier, Gordon Parks and Helmut Newton, to more genre-specific fare like “Everybody Street” or “Tales by Light”, you will have no problem finding something inspiring to watch.
Between your streaming service of choice and YouTube, there is an extensive library of photography documentaries waiting for you.
Start A Photography Blog
If you’ve ever had plans to start a photography blog but just never got around to it because you couldn’t find the time, you now have no more excuses.
Not only do you have more time than usual on your hands, you’ve also got plenty of material should you choose to make your blog an intersection of current events and photography.
No matter what direction you choose to take your blog, be sure to follow your own voice and your own vision. Readers appreciate authenticity.
During this time when so many are out of work and stuck at home through no fault of their own, it’s important to not succumb to the pressure of feeling like you need to constantly be doing something. Sometimes, doing nothing is what you need.
But when you feel the urge to do something creative, you might want to start by reaching for one of the ideas above. Whether any one of those ideas blossoms into something more or whether you’re content with just talking a self-portrait the point, ultimately, is simply to do something that brings you joy.
Stay safe and stay creative.