Now that most of us are stuck at home with possibly no income, times are tough. But we can use these times to our ‘advantage’ and do things we normally wouldn’t do or don’t have time for. Some of us can’t even go out anymore to take pictures in nature because we’re grounded. I live in the Netherlands and we’re still allowed to go out of the house, but other countries like Italy and France for example, are completely grounded.
I spend a lot of time in front of my computer for my photography anyway and I know not everyone is the same. However, in these times we are kind of forced to do some work from behind our desk. So in this small article, I’ll be giving some ‘things to do’ for you while you’re stuck at home!
Work on your website. Lots of us are super busy and often don’t have time to update our website. Now we do! Do basic stuff like updating your site with your most recent work, maybe start a blog (some people always tell me they plan to start one, but never have time), and in general: just make your website look good for potential future clients. It will also be useful to work on the SEO of your website to make it more ‘reachable’ by search engines.
Work on your social media. I love social media (i know some people don’t). In my opinion it’s important to be basically EVERYWHERE. You don’t have to be super active, but just have an account and some of your work everywhere is important for visibility. Example of social media channels : Instagram, Facebook (Photography page), Twitter, Flickr, 500px, VERO (app), Behance, Viewbug, etc. Feel free to add more to this list. And make sure you’re website is listed in every one of them! Maintaining social media can be a day job. But if you are sitting at home and have nothing to do? Why not work on them!
Spend some time checking other’s work! I prefer to check people’s work on high quality websites like Behance. I can browse a website like this for hours. Not only regarding photography, but also all kinds of digital art like drawing, 3d, etc. It’s great for inspiration.
Process unprocessed or (reprocess) old images. This goes especially for landscape photographers (like me) who are often traveling and have a HUGE backlog of images that are still laying around for processing. I could spend weeks on my workstation processing images from my backlog. Also look at your super old images! I recently found an old hard drive with a lot of good images from 2014 that I processed at the time, but I would like to reprocess because my processing skills were quite bad at the time.
Clean up and structure your files on your hard drive. I literally have hundreds of thousands of RAW files on my hard drive. 80% I will probably never use. I have a good year/month/day structure but I know many people don’t. These times are great to spend some time in making a good directory structure, sort your images, delete a bunch. Not only regarding photography by the way. Sometimes my hard drive/desktop/workstation is a mess in general. I am going through my hard drive with software like GrandPerspective (free) to see where all my big files are that I don’t use, and clean up my drives. It is also nice to work on your backup structure if you haven't got a good system. I myself use a Drobo system with cloud backup via Backblaze.
Increase your skills. The internet is an endless resource of information and we can increase our skills - especially when you’re a beginner - greatly with just learning online. I’d say the biggest resource of information is YouTube. These days can be great to work on your processing skills by watching some tutorials. Or support a photographer in these times by buying a tutorial or book. And if you’re a professional photographer yourself: try doing it the other way around. Offer (paid) teaching online via Skype or other channels.
Prepare (photography) projects from home. As a landscape photographer I still have lots of places I want to visits and I constantly have lots of ideas that I want to do ‘when I have time’. These days I am working on making these ‘ideas’ actually happen and put them in potential products. I simply look at the world map checking which locations I still I need to go, figure out the costs, think of how I am going to pay for it and see if I can find potential ways to work with companies to make these projects happen commercially. This is just an example from my own point of view, but I see these (extra) times at home as a good opportunity to prepare a bunch of projects so that I can start them when all of this is over.
Sort out your gear and see what you can get rid of. Many of us have countless of gear from doing years and years of photography. Some of it we never use. Think of old lenses, old bodies, tripods, etc. Spend some time to sort everything and see what you can give away or sell.
Work on (properly) printing your work. Some of you probably already do this, but even for me as a professional photographer I am so busy that I hardly spend proper time to make some good prints of my work. Great prints of your work are just another level to your photography. It’s one thing to see the photo on your screen, but an entirely different thing to hold a 1-2 meter print and hang it up in your house. Printing is also an entirely different form of art. When you’re new to printing, the print rarely comes out how you want. This has to do with different kinds of paper, print profiles and calibrated screens. There’s lot to learn about this (Youtube) and it’s something you can easily spend a few days on!
Write something yourself. It’s always interesting to put your thoughts on paper. It doesn’t even have to do with photography, but writing can be a great outlet in general. I’m writing this article for all of you, so if you have something ‘interesting’ to write about: go for it! There are always people interested in reading, especially here on Reddit!