The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted both the photography industry and creatives at large. Many (including members of our team) have lost significant contracts and have felt disparaged regarding next season’s prospects. In response and in support, we’ve compiled some suggestions for new protocols and creative projects that you can start right now to boost both your income and your morale.
Introduce COVID Precautions and Protocols to Ease Anxieties
If you find yourself wanting to plan for when stricter restrictions are lifted, or if you’re in a position where you’re not currently under a shelter-in-place order, there are still some great options available to the creative photographer seeking to safely serve clients.
We suggest moving all meetings and planning to telephone or online video in order to minimize the need for either party to leave the home. You might also create a questionnaire or handout to help manage expectations during these unique shoots and to ensure that everyone feels safe. For example, a summary of physical precautions that you’ve integrated into your shoot, such as masks, gloves, sanitizer, physical distancing, etc., will go a long way to put your client’s mind at ease.
What was once a purely stylistic choice is now an opportunity for capturing some truly phenomenal portraits while maintaining social distancing. Window-framed portraitures can be planned out in a variety of ways depending on the client’s home layout and the gear that you have available. We recommend sticking to single subject or couple portraiture when working with smaller frames like traditional windows to maximize the effect and remove any cramped feelings. Aim to maximize the art and beauty of a reflective, creative portrait and minimize feelings of quarantine and separation.
Front Porch Portraits
Another great distanced option that has become popular in recent months is the front porch portrait. Here, social distancing of at least 10-20 feet can be maintained while also capturing a stylistically pleasing shot that honors your subjects. The front porch portrait has become an almost iconic means of capturing and recording this moment in time for both rural and urban families.
This is also a great option for disappointed graduating college seniors or prom-goers who may still want record of such an important time in their lives. Many had already purchased their regalia months in advance, only to be left all-dressed-up with nowhere to go. There are young women who spent months selecting a dress that they’ll never get to wear on the dance floor. There are cap- and gown-donned graduates who remain hopeful for a bright future when the world resumes. With careful planning, you can play a pivotal role in making sure that their negative gets transformed into a positive, through stunning and powerful portraits that honor these milestones.
Of note, at publication of this article, the Canadian Photography Association deemed front porch photography against recommendation, so be sure to check and double-check your local restrictions and proceed wisely.
Photo Credit: Marine Doucet
There are some clients who may feel so devastated from losing the reality they had imagined, that only a photo from the actual missed event will do. For these clients, you might offer portraits of the way it should have been. This can be done by using Photoshop to swap out a porch background with a background of an important event of the client’s choosing. Learn how to change your portrait background by viewing this video or written summary (with practice file) from Adobe. The techniques are also taught within the Luxe Academy Photoshop CC series.
Photo Credit: Steve Cole Images
One option that doesn’t require travel or physical contact is product photography. Products are easily accessible via snail mail and there are countless businesses, both large and small, that are still working, still selling, and still in need of dedicated product photography. Be sure to check reputable gig and job-listing sites that are well-rated by fellow photographers for potential jobs in this area. You might also consider offering product photography as a service on your site or portfolio, so that you begin appearing in searches for the service. Finally, if you already have a portfolio of completed stock imagery, you might consider contacting stock photography companies with generic product photography that you’re looking to sell.
Now is a great time to pursue personal passion projects that you may not have had time for during busier seasons. While experimenting with subjects may not be an option for you at this time, exploration into self-portraiture and creative compositions can be extremely beneficial in igniting creativity, maintaining passion for the artistic side of photography, and broadening your creative portfolio. Remember a deeply creative project that had you in awe, or had an idea that you could never quite bring to fruition? Now’s the time to put yourself out there (metaphorically speaking) and try! Often creatives find themselves truly blossoming under unusual circumstances and limitations. When one’s self is stripped of usual comforts, traditional boundaries can be exploited, and unrealized potential has the opportunity to bloom.
Self-portraiture is popular among many photographers. This means of expression can be cathartic and serve as a helpful means of exercising creative muscles, practicing technical skill, and processing difficult emotions. We recommend going inward with this form of photography instead of trying to pull in too much outside inspiration. The more deeply personal and organic your experience, the more it will ultimately speak to who you were, where you were, and how you felt at the time of capture.
Photo Credit: Recep Büyükgüzel
Photo Source: Tony Lin, sharing via our Facebook Community Group
Empty World Walks
One important aspect of holistic wellness is daily exercise. If feasible and allowed per your region’s current restrictions, we recommend taking daily walks with your camera. The world may look a little different now that everything is paused, and you may be surprised what you find along the way. Some communities are participating in little rituals like placing things in their front windows to raise spirits and in other areas, nature is surging with new growth and wildlife. For the photographer who specializes in portraits or products, this can also be a great opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and test those skills! No matter where you tread, we recommend first consulting your local health department website for up-to-date local crisis efforts and restrictions.
Source: The Luxe Lens Community Facebook Group
Photo Credit: Picture In Source Photography
Many are finding themselves closer than ever to their immediate family – both literally and figuratively. Now is an ideal time for candid documentary or story photography. This style of photography is on the rise as a replacement for the traditional static portrait, and highly sought-after by the modern client seeking to promote authenticity. Use this opportunity to record your family’s story while also expanding your portfolio with an on-trend and sought-after style.
Source: The Luxe Lens Community Facebook Group
We hope the suggestions that we offered here are helpful in sparking and nurturing creativity despite current challenges. We are facing this with you and feeling this with you. Together, we will get through this. Stay safe and stay healthy. Cheers. #creativesunite #theluxelens
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