The coronavirus outbreak has changed life for all of us in many ways. Numerous countries are in lockdown, with hundreds of thousands of people in quarantine and self-isolation. Here in Serbia, a state of emergency was declared yesterday.
Many of you will be spending way more time at home over the upcoming few weeks. I will too, and I know that it’s not easy. So I have started to come up with fun, creative and useful stuff we can do to make the best out of this gloomy situation. I will share my ideas with you, and they will help us to stay creative and expand our knowledge and skills. And ultimately, to survive self-isolation or quarantine.
1. Taking photos
Depending on your country and your condition, you may or may not be limited when it comes to going outside. Here in Serbia we can still go out, so it’s a good chance to go for a walk and take some street or architecture photos. If you live near a river or forest, you can spend some time in nature with your camera. Of course, avoid public transport, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face. I believe we all know this by now.
But even if you can’t leave home, there is still all sorts of stuff that you can shoot. For example, try making some creative self-portraits. If you enjoy cooking, then maybe this is the time to practice food photography (and also treat yourself with a nice meal). You’d be surprised how many random items around your home make very photogenic subjects, too. And perhaps you can even throw an online photo shoot (no, I’m not joking). Now is the perfect time to experiment.
2. Image editing
You can use your time at home to improve your image editing. This means that you can either practice your skills or perhaps learn something completely new. Always wanted to try colorizing black and white photos? Or maybe image restoration, retouching, compositing? Now’s the time. You can check out our Tutorials section: you’ll find plenty of useful stuff there.
3. Online courses
I started an online course in creative writing a while ago and I was doing great. But then, constant traveling made me extend the deadline for the final task three times. Well, now I can’t travel, so I guess it’s time to finally complete my course.
If you’re in self-isolation or quarantine, you can try long-distance learning. Here is a list of 450 Ivy League courses you can access for free (this one is specifically about photography). I also suggest browsing through Coursera, Open2Study and Udemy; I’m sure you’ll find something that matches your interests.
I personally am not much of a “podcast person.” I find it hard to concentrate on the story if I am only listening without any visual cues. But not all of us are the same. So, for all the auditory folks out there, check out some of these:
- Vision Slightly Blurred podcast by PhotoShelter
- B&H Photography Podcast
- Picture This: Photography Podcast by Tony and Chelsea Northrup
- Togchat by Joe Edelman
5. YouTube videos
Just like listening to podcasts, you can also watch YouTube videos to learn something new or get inspired. This is more my thing because of the visual element, and I follow so many YouTubers that I don’t even know where to begin. But, here are some of my personal favorites that I can think of straight away. I already know that I’ll forget someone, but I hope they will forgive me, there are so many great content creators out there!
- Sean Tucker
- Nigel Danson
- Toma Bonciu
- Mads Peter Iversen
- James Popsys
- Irene Rudnyik
- Michael Sasser
- Joanie Simon
- DSLR Video Shooter
- Brandon Li
6. DIY projects
If there’s a perfect time to work on a DIY project, it’s right now. There are so many photo or video gadgets that you can make at home from the stuff you already have. Check out our DIY section, choose your project, and start making something new.
7. Movies, TV shows, and documentaries
All theaters and movies have closed down here in Serbia and as far as I know, it’s the same all over the world. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good movie or a TV show. I even prefer watching them at home because there’s no one talking, laughing or chewing potato chips for the entire two hours. I mean, no one other than me.
Anyways, Netflix has some documentaries about photographers and photography on offer, and so does Amazon Prime. Or you can just watch movies and TV series on any topic, but with beautiful cinematography. What came to my mind are Parasite, Jojo Rabbit, or anything from Wes Anderson or Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
And last but definitely not the least, you can spend your time reading. There are so many awesome books out there, on photography or any other topic. I personally rarely read books about photography, but I do have books on other topics to recommend. I suggest reading anything that you can find from Irwin D. Yalom, Erlend Loe, George Orwell, J. D. Salinger… Those are only some of my favorites. Or you can now finally read all four Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. I also wholeheartedly recommend my favorite writer in my language, Meša Selimović (you can find his books translated to English).
I usually borrow books from a library or buy it in a book store. Of course, libraries are now closed, but you can borrow books online. You can also buy “physical” books online from many bookstores and they’ll have them delivered to your address. This includes many small, local bookshops – so support them if you can! There’s also Amazon, of course, where you can get both paper and digital books. And if you prefer audio books, you can find them on Audible.
[Update 17 March 2020]: Speaking of books, my DIYP buddy Dave Williams has just published The Little Self-Isolation Photography eBook. It contains 25 ideas for photographers in isolation: from photo projects to things that you could do to pass time and learn something new. It’s completely free, so get it here and forward it to your friends, too.
I sincerely hope that all these suggestions will help you survive self-isolation. I tried to provide as many links as I could think of to make it easier for you to find all the stuff that I was writing about. Of course, if you have any ideas to add, please hit the comment section and feel free to share them. I’d love to hear them, considering that I’m staying at home too – I’ve caught a cold.
It hasn’t been easy lately and challenges are still ahead of us. But let’s be responsible to ourselves and others. Let’s stay calm, stay at home, and try to use that time indoors in the best possible way. We’ve got this!