Being in lockdown isn’t enjoyable for anyone, especially for those of us who are used to venturing outdoors for our work. However, while most photographers are used to shooting scenes outside of their home, there are plenty of opportunities to improve your photography while stuck inside. Here are 4 tips for photographers who want to make the most of lockdown.
Work on Your Portfolio
Being stuck in lockdown presents you with the perfect opportunity to begin working on or refining your photography portfolio. It is hard to overstate just how much difference an attractive portfolio will make when you are either applying for jobs or trying to sell your photography. Every serious photographer should have a regularly updated portfolio ready to go at a moment’s notice.
The main reason why most photographers haven’t put together a portfolio is that they aren’t sure how to do it or they assume that it is quite an involved process. On the contrary, there are now plenty of websites and software tools available that make the process of putting together a portfolio as simple and painless as possible.
For example, format.com has an excellent guide on how to make a photography portfolio. Not only do they have useful advice for photographers, but they also provide an online tool that you can use to put together a professional-looking portfolio with ease. In fact, you can use their service to put together a portfolio for a range of creative pursuits.
What to Include
For many photographers, one of the most difficult aspects of putting together a portfolio is working out exactly what work to include in it. Of course, you want your portfolio to show you and your work in the best possible light. That means that your portfolio needs to be tailored to your individual strengths and abilities.
If there is a particular kind of photography that you clearly excel at, and are much more proficient at than other types, it makes sense to dedicate the bulk of your portfolio to these kinds of photos. However, you don’t want to make yourself appear to be a one-trick pony. It is equally important that you are able to demonstrate your range and versatility. Photographers who can only do one specific type of photography reliably are going to find that their work opportunities are limited. That’s not to say that you cannot specialize in one specific area, but the broader your portfolio is, the more doors it can unlock.
Dive into Macro Photography
Robert Hooke’s Micrographia predates photography by quite some time. However, every photographer should take a look at this book in order to appreciate the intricacy and beauty of the close-up world. First published in 1665, micrographia was the first major work that involved the fledgling science of microscopic. Robert Hooke looked at a variety of objects through a microscope and created illustrations that depicted the fine details that we overlook from our macroscopic viewpoint.
Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to see the detail and beauty that exists until you take a camera and get right up close. Macro photography is an excellent technique for photographing anything, from flowers to musical instruments. Once you get up close with your camera’s macro mode, you can see all of the details that have thus far eluded you.
The great thing about macro photography is that it enables you to discover a whole new world within your everyday surroundings. This makes it the perfect technique to work on while you are stuck in lockdown.
Find the Beauty in Your Everyday Surroundings
Many photographers are despairing at the thought of being confined to their homes for many months without the opportunity to venture further to take photos. However, you don’t need to venture out into the wild in order to find worthwhile shots. A common mistake made especially by new photographers is to place far too much stock in the scene in front of them, and not nearly enough in their own abilities as a photographer. In other words, a talented photographer can take even the most boring and mundane scene and find a way to present it that is interesting and evocative.
Learning to find the beauty in your everyday surroundings and finding ways of making otherwise boring things interesting will make you a much better photographer. Whether your photography is primarily an artistic or a commercial endeavor, it pays quite literally, to be able to create worthwhile photos out of everyday scenes.
Here are some simple techniques that you can use to alter the look and feel of a scene and create the right atmosphere for your shot.
Angles and Aspects
If you want a first-hand demonstration of the impact that the angles and aspects that you use to compose your shot can have, take any old object in your home and try photographing it from different angles. We don’t just mean shuffling around a little bit to photograph it from each side; instead, take your camera and take a shot of your chosen object from every angle you can conceive of. That means getting above and below your object, as well as moving around it.
Of course, the effect is much more pronounced with some objects than others. However, whether you are dealing with a single object or an entire scene, the precise position of your camera relative to the object is his photographing can have a very profound impact on the mood at the photo evokes.
Mood and Lighting
You can use lighting to create whatever kind of atmosphere or mood you desire. Identifying the right mood and lighting for any situation is one of the most important skills for a photographer to have.
Professional photographers have to work in a variety of different conditions and with different lighting environments. The natural ambient light around us changes with the seasons. Professional photographers, therefore, need to be able to work with different lighting conditions and know how to adapt the equipment and techniques to match their surroundings.
Learn Some New Digital Techniques
Being a photographer in the 21st Century means that you need to have a reasonable grasp of digital editing techniques. Photoshop is the industry standard, but it is no longer the only game in town.
There are cheaper, but still powerful programs that are worth checking out. If you prefer working in different photography genres, then take a look at PhotoWorks. It’s a friendly image editor with an AI-powered toolkit, that allows you to perform most of the complex actions automatically: color correction, background replacement, erasing unwanted objects, etc. If you are into taking portraits, then PhotoDiva is a great choice. It’s aimed at portrait enhancement and provides various smart presets to improve skin tone, remove imperfections and apply digital makeup.
It doesn’t matter what tools you use to retouch or edit your photos, but this lockdown provides you with the perfect opportunity to work on your techniques.
For some photographers, digital editing is absolutely essential to the work that they do. However, any photographer working with a digital camera will benefit from knowing how to perform basic retouches on their photos. You can use digital image editing software to create the same techniques that you can achieve in a dark room. Digital editing doesn’t necessarily mean that you are creating an impossible photo. This lockdown provides you with the perfect opportunity to improve your digital photo editing skills.
No one likes being in lockdown. However, photographers are involved in one of the lucky professions that can actually use this time period to their advantage. Take this opportunity to work on some of the techniques outlined above and put together a killer portfolio so that you are ready to apply for work when the lockdown ends.