6 steps quarantined photographers can take to make the most of their down time

24 Mar 2020 by Joy Habib

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us around the world have been formally advised to stay home. Safety should be your number one priority, but in a time of crisis, reconnecting with what you love doing can be an invaluable lifeline. Practicing your craft can be the one thing that breaks your isolation and gives you the courage to face these trying times. 

Office workers who are lucky enough to be able to do their job remotely readjust to working from home. For freelancers and independent workers, however, these times are a lot more challenging as official recommendations in certain areas make it harder to work.
This is particularly true for many photographers: practicing their art means going out in the world to find inspiration. But we believe that this down time can be put to good use for professional and amateur photographers alike. Here are 6 ways you can improve without setting a foot outside. 

1 - Practice, practice, practice! 
2 - Improve your editing skills
3 - Rehaul your online presence 
4 - Reach out to the community 
5 - Stay inspired 
6 - Open yourself up to new artforms 

1 -  Practice, practice, practice! 

If you specialize in wildlife, travel or street photography, you might find yourself suddenly cut off from your preferred subjects. But just because you’re stuck between four walls doesn’t mean you can’t practice your craft. 

If you’re a beginner, you might want to take the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the various features offered by your camera and test out modes that you’re not used to practicing with. Play around with shutter speed and aperture, and don’t shy away from taking bad pictures on purpose by disregarding basic photography does and don'ts. Experimenting with blurry or over-exposed pictures can teach you a lot! Get creative with mundane everyday objects and pay attention to the small details that you might have overlooked a thousand times by forcing yourself to take 100 pictures in one room of your apartment, for instance. 

If you already have a hang of the main functions of your camera, you can practice new techniques by following video tutorials: always wanted to master bracketing? There’s no time like the present.
And if you’re curious to know how professionals make their magic happen, the myMeero platform is ripe with video sessions helping you to master the essentials of portrait and documentary photography.

2 - Improve your editing skills

Put your camera down for a second. We mean it. We know that for photographers, the appeal of going outside and taking new pictures can be overwhelming. 

But now is the time to look back at the photos you have taken over the years , and train that other big muscle photographers need to flex… editing. 

You might be a big Photoshop enthusiast already. Or maybe you dislike spending hours in front of your computer tweaking the saturation of your photos. Either way, you have a lot to gain by working on your editing skills. 

Chances are, these skills have dramatically improved since you first started practicing. This is why a good exercise would be to unearth the pictures you have edited in those early days. How could you improve them? What changes would you make now, with everything time has taught you? 

You can also look back at the edits you are the most proud of. It can be hard to question our best work, as we tend to put a lot of pride into it. This is why it is important to challenge yourself by being completely honest: could you improve them in any way? Is there another take you could’ve chosen, could you have edited them differently? 

It might also be a good time to master photo editing softwares that you don’t usually use: Photoshop, Lightroom or Luminar… why pick just one?

How to shoot a night reportage with natural light? This tutorial available on the discovery section of myMeero follows Sanne de Wilde as she covers the Puglia Saints Festival

3 - Rehaul your online presence 

If you’re anything like us, you tend to dedicate more time to your art than to your online presence. It’s pretty understandable: when you’re passionate about something, everything else takes the backseat. However, if you want to make it as an independent photographer, or if you’re an amateur photographer hoping to share your work with other people, you can’t ignore digital marketing. And what better time to get to it than during an international lockdown?

One good place to start is, of course, Instagram. Everyone agrees that Instagram is an invaluable platform for anyone dabbling in visual arts. However, many active photographers neglect their Instagram account. We have seen more than one talented photographer whose last Instagram post dates back to 2016. If this is you, then now might be the time to update your profile with some of your recent work. While you’re at it, update your bio and make sure to add a link to your portfolio. 

If you don’t have a portfolio yet, now might be the time to create one. This implies spending a lot of time skimming through your old work and determining which ones will make the cut. What a way to spend one (or many) afternoon(s)... It also means you have to draft a bio explaining who you are, where you’re from, what are your main inspirations and specialties. So heat up the keyboard!

A photographer editing his work

© Monica Linzmeier

4 - Reach out to the community 

You know who else is stuck at home, wondering how to keep the inspiration flowing during a lockdown? Well… millions of other photographers. And feeling like you belong to a community becomes more important in time of crisis. Make sure to stay connected to your professional network by sharing inspiration, relevant information and any content you find helpful (why not start with this article, for example!). 

If you wish to make new connections, talented photographers from all over the world, sign up to myMeero.  A vibrant community awaits on the Community section. Join the active Community hub and share advice, get feedback on your work and broaden your horizons. You can even partake in some of the regular photography challenges that are posted on the hub. 

We’ve mentioned the importance of Instagram: it can also be a great way to discover the work of talented photographers. This is why we regularly feature photographers who do a great job at curating outstanding instagram accounts. Follow Meero on Instagram to stay updated! You can also browse other photographers’ portfolios to get inspiration about how to build yours. 

And if you like the work of a fellow photographer, don’t be shy! Now is a good time to reach out and let them know. Chances are they have time on their hand, and they’d be more than happy to strike up a conversation. 

5 - Stay inspired 

Every photographer remembers this ‘aha’ moment: the moment you felt so moved by a photograph that you got the urge to try it for yourself. Who knew that a simple picture could tell such intricate stories, could awaken such emotions. This original moment of pure inspiration is often forgotten in the turmoil of daily life: projects, missions and deadlines can make you forget why you chose to take up photography in the first place. 

This forced hiatus in your daily activities can be the moment to reflect and to reconnect with your original drive. Take the time to look at the photos that inspire you and read about the photographers you admire. 

You can also take this opportunity to discover new sources of inspiration. Head to the Discovery section of myMeero (after you sign up) to learn about the work of some of the most creative and eccentric photographers today. You can also follow two masterclasses given by legendary photographers Duane Michals and Andrea Modica. 

If you would like to read about fellow photographers who have decided to follow their passion and make a living through photography, then you’re in for a treat: our In Focus articles are a series of interviews with some of our partner photographers from all around the world. 

Kourtney Roy, Desperate Dreamer

The documentary Desperate Dreamer, available on myMeero, follows the artistic process of Canadian photographer Kourtney Roy

6 - Open yourself up to new artforms 

Everyone at Meero shares a common passion for photography. But many of us also practice other artforms. Taking up a new artistic practice can broaden your horizon and give you a new perspective on your photography work. This is particularly true of visual arts:  if you’ve always wanted to give drawing, painting or graphic design a whirl, now is the time to start. 

If you lack skill or practice, don’t be discouraged. Being a beginner and learning to fail can do a lot for your humility and be surprisingly liberating. 

Beyond practicing new artforms, try to find comforts in the art you have always appreciated. 

Prestigious museums and art galleries around the world allow you to take virtual reality tour from the comfort of your living room.

If you’re a cinephile, now is the time to spend hours watching the movies that have inspired you through the years and to discover new directors. If you’re an avid reader, make use of the long hours spent inside to discover new writers, to pick up the novel that has been sitting on your bedside table for months or to dive back into a beloved classic. Anything that makes you flex your creative muscle would make you a better photographer once you pick up your camera again.

Until then, stay inspired, but most of all stay safe!

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