Over the past few months, the reality of the fact that the COVID-19 virus is not going anywhere and is only getting worse has settled in for many of us. For many, including myself, it also means that we have lost jobs, lost money and are forced to stay home.
It is a difficult time for pretty much everybody. Many photographers are struggling to figure out what to do when the bulk of their work comes from actually going outside. While I am sort of lucky that South Korea is not on full lockdown, many places around the world are. This effectively means that we have to get creative with our time at home to avoid going crazy.
With that being said, how exactly does one “get creative” with this situation and what can a photographer do when they can’t go outside all that much. It is a time to study and recalibrate your passion.
Study In Depth
All we have is time right now. Most of us are connected to the internet in some way, shape, or form. So rather than hunkering down into another Netflix binge session, we should try and study photography as much as we can. I have hundreds of ebooks from 5DayDeal that I have yet to read and that is where I am starting. If you want some more free resources from 5DayDeal, check out one of their latest newsletters that has tons of great stuff in it.
Creative Live also has a lot of free content that rotated all the time. These courses are categorized into specific areas and one being photography. The reason that I like Creative Live over some youtube channels is that typically these are industry experts and they go really in depth in the tutorials rather than just a 2 minute clip stitched into 10 minutes of title tracks and b-roll.
Nikon has 10 free courses on their site right now. They cover a wide range of topics from kids to learning the z50. If you are a Nikon shooter, this may be something that you would want to check out.
The Museum of Modern Art has a free course entitled “Seeing Through Photographs” which looks like a great way to deep dive into what makes a photograph. This takes you through the history of photography with works in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda is another great resource but it is not really free. They do offer a 30 day free trial. So most likely you are like me and have been stuck inside for at least a month. Take this time time to really hammer out these courses and make use of your free trial before you have to pay. They also offer a certificate of completion which may also appear on your LinkedIn profile. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing but you may want to also take this time to spruce up your profile while you are studying.
PHLearn also has tons of free resources to help you fine tune your photography game. There are hundreds of courses here and they have a little bit of everything. Think of areas that you need to work on and fine the topics to study.
Udemy is also another similar site that many people use however it is not free albeit they do have a 30-day money back agreement but you still have to pay first. However, if you watch closely they will have courses on for sale. In march of this year they had a bunch of courses on sale for extremely cheap.
Youtube Photography Channels
Youtube is obviously a great free resource that many photographers use to sharpen skills and entertain themselves. It can be tough to find good channels and not sift through dozens of channels that talk a lot about your topic but never really teach you anything. Here are a few that I like.
Noe Alonzo is a friend and makes amazing videos about cyberpunk urban shots. His no nonsense videos are a great resource to learn this style of photography. Since his channel took off, I have seen more than one photographer here emulate his style and that shows that his videos must be useful.
Fuel Your Photos is a great channel for SEO and areas around keywording and whatnot. It is one of those areas that many photographers don’t think about as they feel that their photos are the stars of the show. However, a quick study here will…. well… fuel your photos.
Jim Nix is a great teacher if you are into Luminar 4 and other Skylum products. His tutorials are well laid out and he has a professional but easy going manner which really helps you learn quickly.
Scott Herder is another friend that does amazing work with hyperlapse and timelapse photography. His videos are straightforward and extremely helpful. His channel is just getting started but you can see that it has great potential. Scott was a former teacher here in South Korea and that really shows in his videos.
Kelby One is typically a pay to play site. However, since the end of March they have been hosting a series of webinars for free on their youtube channel. Theses are hosted by Scott Kelby and a host of other top-notch photographers in the industry.
Postie Adventures is a great new channel started by my friend Brent Mail in Australia. He converted a old “postie bike” as they call them in the land down under and now is touring around interviewing creative and interesting people.
One of the things that I have a lot of are photography ebooks. A few years ago, you got these pretty much everywhere. Sadly, many people read a couple pages and now they just take up space on their hard drives. Regardless or what you may think, they are still a great resource for learning different photography concepts.
Rocky Nook has over 250 titles to choose from. Not the cheapest by any stretch of the imagination but a good resource nonetheless. If you are looking for well-written and well designed ebooks on pretty much every camera or photographic style, you will probably find it here.
Craft & Vision is a great shop for moderately priced ebooks and I must admit that I have a lot of their books as I really like David DuChemin’s writing and advice.
The Adobe Creative Cloud – Adobe is giving everyone 2 months of the creative cloud bundle for free. If you have wanted to try Photoshop or Lightroom you may wanting testing this out. Dan Carr really breaks down the process in the linked article.
5DayDeal – They have some great free or deeply reduced items over at their shop. These are anything from presets to ebooks. There is a lot of great stuff for the photographer stuck at home.
The Photo BootCamp Academy – They are offering a 30 day stay-at-home trial of their training right now. This is a great opportunity to test out this style of course and community. This is a very special offer to get you hooked on Brent’s upbeat style of teaching and all of his years of experience.
Creative Academy – Pete DeMarco is offering a 2-month access to his amazing landscape photography community for just $1. This community offers access to live guest expert workshops and Q&A session. Pete offers a complete roadmap of tutorials to improve your landscape photography and direct access to his years of expertise.
Digital Photo Mentor – This is another great site that is offering a deal right now on a beginner photography course. Their 4 Weeks to Better Photography is on sale right now for only $9. This is a great course if you are looking for some solid instruction when you are just starting out.
FStoppers – If you are one of the lucky people that still has any money, FStoppers has a deal going on that makes their courses a little more affordable. However, if you are like me then these are still way out of your price range but there are some good courses there.
A Beautiful Anarchy Podcast – This is a great podcast to sit down and get a better grasp on many aspects of life, creativity and everything else outside of which monster camera Canon will produce next.
The Traveling Image Makers – I was recently on this podcast and it is a great way to get to know some of your favourite photographers and see what really makes them tick. The host Ugo Cei is amazing and also an inspiring photographer as well.
Photo Taco – I must admit that I only started listening to this podcast because of the name. However, it has some really good episodes. Jeff Harmon really talks about some great topics and not too geeky.
The Photofocus Podcast – This is a great one for the business side of photography. There is a lot of information packed into these episodes and it has some really good advice.
The PetaPixel Podcast – If you are into general photography shoptalk about what new cameras are coming out and whatnot, this is one of the better podcasts out there.
The Unfiltered Photography Podcast – Brandon van Son is an energetic photographer and is quite down to earth. This podcast is a sporativally updated one but it is a great one to sort of chill and listen to his thoughts. He touches on a little bit of everything from business to instagram.
The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show – This is basically the podcast for creatives. I mean that it is not exactly directly aimed at photographers and it revolves around the “creative lifestyle” and whatnot. Chase interviews some of the top names in the industry.
BONUS: This has nothing to do with photography but it is a great podcast: LeVar Burton Reads. Seriously, just give it a listen and you can thank me later.
The bottom line here is that you can and should use this time to sharpen your skill set and develop yourself as a photographer. Some of these things will cost a bit a money but they are certainly cheaper than buying a new lens or body. I am sure that if you actively study from some of these resources, you WILL improve your photographic skill.