Hi friends! I hope you are all staying safe and hanging in there during these unprecedented times. With billions of people under some sort of quarantine orders, the emergence of the Novel Coronavirus of 2019 has given many photographers more spare time than they know what to do with. I've been isolating at home since March 18th. While I hope things get back to normal really soon, staying at home is not the dreadful confinement that I thought it would be. In fact, there are quite a few fun photography projects you can do at home! Here are 3 projects that I found really helpful to passing the time while staying safe at home:
3. Pet Portraits
About 67% of US households report having at least one household pet, and that means you are more than likely able to do this project! While it may be difficult to work with human subjects at this time, your furry friend should be happy to help you - provided you offer the right about of treats and cuddles, of course.
I have two kitties at home, and they're both 15 years old (Their names are Kashmir & Lily). I pretty much grew up with them. Since they mean so much to me and I know they won't be around forever, getting some professional looking portraits of them has been on my to-do list for quite awhile. The quarantine that we're all facing provided just the right opportunity to finally get this project done.
My setup for this project was simple - I used a stool and some foamcore board as my backdrop. I would set my kitty on the stool, and from that point forward it was just a matter of trying to get their attention towards my lens using toys and cat treats.
I took the same approach to capturing a portrait of my kitties as I do with human subjects: by using off-camera flash, poses, and a non-intrusive backdrop. But I encourage you to put your own creative spin on this project!
Choosing a pet portrait project is a double-win for you. Not only will you end up with some cherished pictures of your family pet, but you can also add the image to your portfolio. Pet photography is a popular genre these days, and depending on your area, it may be an untapped market.
2. The Artist's Self-Portrait
Number 2 on our list is the self-portrait. If you have been doing photography for any length of time, chances are you've already taken a self-portrait. Right now is the perfect time to capture a new self-portrait to update your portfolio. It's also a great cathartic way to release those pent-up quarantine emotions and powerfully transfer them into your image.
For my self-portrait, I set up my backdrop in my living room, and used off-camera lighting to set the mood for my image. If you don't have off-camera lighting, that's okay. Use the natural light that's available to you through your windows and doorways.
One thing you will need for this project is a tripod. A tripod will allow you to be both the photographer and the subject. If you don't have a tripod, try stacking some books on top of a chair and setting your camera on top of that. You'll be in for a bit of a challenge without a tripod, but hey, you'll have all day to challenge yourself! So why not take a stab at it?
I had a lot of fun with my self-portrait project. It's a bit of a time-consuming process to get an image that's just right, as the nature of capturing your own portrait will necessitate making lots of minor tweaks if you're like me. The reward is well-worth it though, as everyone loves a flattering picture of themselves.
1. The Pandemic Lifestyle Shoot
The final project on our list is what I call the 'Pandemic Lifestyle Shoot'. Coronavirus has swiftly came and upended our lives and one thing is for certain: things won't be going back to the way they were anytime soon. We've all had our lives affected in one way or another. Whether it was something trivial such as toilet paper being sold out at your local grocery store, or something more serious such as you or a loved one getting sick, this photography project is meant to capture those changes and emotions you've experienced.
This project is meant to be very personal. You can choose to use yourself, housemates, or household objects as your subject. The main point of this project is to illustrate the way your life has been changed by the epidemic. I personally feel there is a special onus on us photographers to document this moment in history, as it will undoubtedly be looked back upon as a defining event of the 21st century. Perhaps these images will be something you share with your grandchildren someday, when they ask you what this pandemic was like.
For this project I chose to use myself as the subject. I wanted my image to convey the dire regard I had for the Coronavirus while also adding some apocalyptic motifs for enhanced dramatic effect. I started paying attention to what was happening shortly after the news broke of lockdowns in China. I spent alot of time preparing for the epidemic to reach my area, and now that it's here, it's time to just...sit and wait, while being ready for anything.
I enjoyed this project the most because it really allowed me to break with what I traditionally photograph and venture into uncharted territory. Being the history buff that I am, it's also meaningful to me to document something that is so clearly going to be considered a significant historical event. If anything, this photo project is a way for me to say, "I was there."
There's plenty of things to be concerned about in this crazy time that we're living in. But as artists and photographers, we have a duty to create. Perhaps that duty is merely to ourselves, perhaps some of us enjoy doing this for others. Regardless of who it's for, I hope you find these projects to be a good way to release stress and get back into creating.
Wishing you all good health & I will surely see you on the other side of this thing!