Photographer Albert Dros likes to stay busy. Whether he's traveling to Antarctica or exploring Kyrgyzstan, he's constantly on the move. But, as with most people these days, his routine has changed dramatically in the face of the coronavirus. While many are feeling the stress of having to stay at home, this is particularly difficult for creatives like Dros who make their income by traveling and interacting with people.
So what can these creatives do when their normal workflow suddenly comes to a stop? As Dros reminds us, staying inside doesn't mean being stagnant. “We can use these times to our ‘advantage’ and do things we normally wouldn’t do or don’t have time for,” he writes.
Thanks to modern technology, there are still plenty of tasks to tackle while you have this extra time on your hands. Whether it's growing your social media following, learning how to teach an online class, or learning a new skill, there are many different ways to occupy your time.
Let's look at ten ways that any photographer can wisely spend their time while waiting out the coronavirus, as suggested by Dros. Once you start reading, you'll quickly see that your “free” time can fill up fast.
Work on Your Website
Extra time behind the computer means that you'll have more time to make the improvements to your website that you've been too busy to do otherwise. That might mean updating it with recent projects, improving the user interface, or making sure that all your contact details are up to date.
Work on Your Social Media
With so much time indoors, reach out and connect with your audience by getting engaged on social media. You can always publish previously unseen work, livestream some of your photo editing sessions, or do a Q&A with your followers.
One positive of having to stay inside is that it's forced everyone to slow down. This means having more time to take a look at what your creative colleagues are doing. Dros suggests Behance as a great way to explore creative portfolios and get inspired by other creative visionaries.
Process Unused Photos
Most photographers have images they've never gotten around to processing or images they'd like to refine. Without the time constraints of another project looming, it's a great time to look back into the archive and rework preexisting images. This is also a perfect way to get more content for your social media accounts.
Get Your Archive Organized
“I literally have hundreds of thousands of RAW files on my hard drive. 80% I will probably never use,” writes Dros. And he certainly isn't the only one. This a wonderful opportunity to clean up your files and put in place a good organizational system if you don't already have one. As Dros also points out, this doesn't only mean your photographic archive, but also your laptop or desktop computer. We all have unused large files that take up space, so now is the time to clean up and optimize.
Learn New Skills
Have you ever wanted to get into video editing or expand your knowledge of Photoshop, but never had the time? Take this as an opportunity to either learn or refine a new skill. Not only is this intellectually stimulating, but it can help you market yourself and earn more money when things are back in full swing.
Research Future Projects
It can take weeks, if not months, of research to pull together projects, from scouting locations to finding funding. Use this moment and make headway on projects that you were saving for “when you have time.” The time is now. Dros writes that he “simply look[s] at the world map checking which locations I still need to go [to], figure out the costs, think of how I am going to pay for it and see if I can find potential ways to work with companies to make these projects happen commercially.”
Getting organized can extend beyond your computer and into your camera gear. Dros suggests sorting through old lenses, tripods, and cases to put things in order and see if there's anything you're holding onto that can be given away or sold.
Print Your Work
In this digital world, it's easy to forget about printing photographs. “Great prints of your work are just another level to your photography,” writes Dros. “It’s one thing to see the photo on your screen, but an entirely different thing to hold a 1-2 meter print and hang it up in your house.” And for many, this is also a new skill to learn. Expand your knowledge about paper, color profiles, and printing technology in order to apply them to your work going forward.
Explore other creative outlets like writing, whether it's about photography or simply a personal diary. Professionally, Dros is keeping himself busy by penning articles for industry websites. Photographers might also want to either start a blog or increase their blogging frequency during this time. What should you write about? How-to guides, gear reviews, or behind-the-scenes stories of your favorite projects are just some ideas to help you pass the time.