Practicing Photography during a Pandemic
You know what? This whole Coronavirus situation isn’t any fun at all, from the social distancing, the self isolation, lockdowns, lack of vaccines, health issues, it’s beginning to take a toll on some of us – if not ALL of us in some way. Including us Photographers.
How – you may ask?
Well let’s start with the obvious one – the Social Distancing. We need to stand at least 6-feet apart from each other and if we need to come any closer to anyone (a family member, or a co-worker in the same workspace) then we must wear a mask, scarf, or a make-do shirt cover our mouth and nose to prevent germs.
I don’t know about you, but not only does this hinder me from trying to interact with others, but hurts in other ways as well. People aren’t out right now. They’re spending the majority of their time at home and indoors, which means during what little time I can wander outside with my camera, there’s hardly anyone out there to capture on film.
What’s an answer to this ‘Social Distancing’? What can I possibly do to get around this when I’m lacking any ideas as a photographer?
How about using Coronavirus as a photographic essay or story. Perhaps take this opportunity to capture some of the front line workers, like firefighters, nurses, policemen, cashiers who are still working at the supermarket behind the plexiglass shields, or the tireless truck drivers who are still delivering food and goods to us around the country.
Next – there’s the Self-Isolations. Or in other words, the encouragement to “Stay at Home”. I can’t get enough of the different hashtags out there right now, from #StayAtHome, #AtHome, #ShelterInPlace, and others.
Even though I’m fortunate to still have a decent income and telework during my day job, there’s not much to think about when it comes to going out and photographing a subject when nearly everybody in the world is told to stay home. And even if I was a binge-watcher, streaming Netflix isn’t helping either, as every single commercial reinforces this message, even further dampening the situation.
WHAT’S A GOOD SOLUTION TO THIS ISOLATIONS AND QUARANTINES?
Find some subjects at home, starting with your own family members. Perhaps you can expand on a Coronavirus photographic essay by adding some of your family members to the story as well. And if you’re single and in self isolation, then there’s also many more different subjects and ideas you can think about tackling, and I talk about some of them in an earlier blog. It doesn’t have to be as hopeless and as bland as you think.
It’s also a good idea to think ahead. Let’s be realistic here – we can’t stay at home forever! Eventually the economy will open back work, people will go back to work, and this season will pass. So why not start thinking about the future, when people are back out in public, or gatherings again?
One good suggestion that I picked up from another photographer was to think about planning a trip, or even booking a flight – as flights are coming relatively cheap right now, and airlines are easing up on their refund policy due to the slow business right now.
I took two great trips to New York last year to capture some street photography for the first time, along with some of the landmarks that I grew up around. Sure – I had a couple of spring trips that have been cancelled and postponed. The best thing that I can do is to ride this out, and plan for the next trip. Even right now, I’m sitting down and making a list out, getting different ideas for my next trip.
Not only does this give you something to look forward to, but it provides motivation from the present circumstances once these lockdowns and quarantines are lifted, even if it’s a gradual process.
SEARCHING FOR NEW IDEAS
Finally – one important thing that I’ve thought about during this situation was working on my business – which includes writing this latest blog. And if you didn’t have one – now would definitely be a good time to consider starting one.
One thing that I’ve discovered is that this has awoken everybody to the possibilities of an online business – one where you can work from anywhere, even in isolation. Why not consider a photography business? Or a blog? Or YouTube Channel? Maybe find a particular niche in photography and start exploring some possibilities in that area that you can continue in, even if you’re forced to stay at home?
Though social distancing and lockdowns may have taken a toll on some photographers, who may be struggling to get clients now due to social distancing, or a lack of sporting events, lack of large crowds at weddings, or other events that would normally be taking place now. Now’s a good time to consider using the internet to your advantage.
Also – consider sharpening your skills with some online tutorials. Maybe even going through some of your older shots in Lightroom or Photoshop and seeing what you can tweak or improve on.
What about browsing through sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest and checking out the latest hashtags to see what’s hot, popular or trending now or in the next few months? This has always helped me to break out of a rut and explore some new possibilities in photography, or even provide some inspiration on what I like to shoot next.
Let’s face it. Most of us haven’t experienced anything like this before in our lives – I know I haven’t. My only purpose for writing this post was to keep myself motivated, while looking for a light at the end of the tunnel in all of this.
What do you think about some of my ideas? Perhaps you’ve gained some helpful insights as a photographer as well during this time. If so, I’d like to hear about them.