We are living through some dark, surreal times. I am confident that by now you have undoubtedly felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic and that your lives have been affected in one way or another by this invisible threat. I wish you, your families and loved ones, good health. So, make sure to stay home and stay safe.
Stay home and stay safe Street Hunters
Asking Street Photographers to stay home is like asking a bird not to fly or a fish not to swim! What are we to do? Us Street Photographers are creatures of the street if anything, and being confined in an apartment, house or room could be a very, very hard thing to do! There is a possibility that some of us might even experience cabin fever, depression, anxiety, loneliness and other dark, suffocating feelings.
There are things however that we can do to feel better. Things to help us survive mentally while in a forced lockdown quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus. Articles with advice on how to protect your mental health are already popping up everywhere. I recommend you give them a read. Here are some useful links I discovered:
- Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health (BBC)
- 10 Tips For Preparing To Stay At Home Due To The Coronavirus (Buzzfeed)
- How to stay sane during a coronavirus quarantine, and when you should reach out for help (The News & Observer)
Protect your mental health by focusing on Street Photography
Now that we are all confined in our homes, we could invest our time into learning more about Street Photography and participating in online community activities. Instead of practicing Street Photography, we could focus on related things that would stimulate us, pull us in, entertain us, improve our knowledge and at the end of the day, why not, turn us into better, more experienced Street Photographers. At least on a theoretical level. So, what do you say? Shall we dive in!?
Street Photography related
1. Read all the photography books you have purchased over the years
If you are anything like me, you have purchased many photography books but you haven’t ever sat down to read through them carefully. Sure, the ones that only have photos are easy to go through, but what about the ones that aren’t only full of pictures and also contain text? Have you ever really sat down to read those, or have you just skimmed through them, looked at the pictures and just put them back on your shelf? I am sure that most of you have only looked at the pictures and a few of you have read some pages and even fewer have read the books from start to finish. So, why not take this time to invest in your books? Increase your knowledge. It will help you gain a deeper insight into Street Photography. Allow you to connect with the genre on a higher level. Understand it more. If you don’t have any good Street Photography books, might I recommend you take a look at our StreetHunters Bookshelf section to get ideas on what you can buy for inspiration!
2. Watch Street Photography Documentaries
Fortunately nowadays you can find many Street Photography related documentaries online. What better way to pass your time than to watch a selection of documentaries that besides educational are also fun and exciting? Many years ago we prepared a list of 16 Photography Documentaries every Street Photographer should watch. We highly recommend you check that page out and give those documentaries a look. You will undoubtedly love it!
3. Watch Street Photography Youtube Channels
If you want to watch something of a more hands-on, homemade nature, then just head to Youtube and search for the term “Street Photography”. You are bound to find numerous Street Photography Youtube channels to watch! We made a list a few years back called “5 Street Photography YouTube channels you should subscribe too” that might be worth a look. To be honest, we haven’t found the time to update it yet, so please forgive us if some are not working any more. Besides the ones mentioned in the list, you should also visit our very own Streethunters.net Youtube channel. We are pretty sure you will find something there that you will enjoy watching!
4. Read Street Photography blogs
If you don’t feel like watching anything, you can always surf the web in search of knowledge! When we started Streethunters.net back in 2013 there was only a handful of Street Photography blogs out there. Now the internet is full of them! Here is a list of some of the best ones out there, besides ours of course:
- Shooter Files
5. Learn how to use your camera (finally)
Are you one of those Street Photographers that don’t know how to use your camera? Are you on P mode all the time? There is nothing bad about that of course, but why not invest some time into actually learning how that amazing camera you own works? Some of us like buying the latest and greatest cameras, only to use them in P mode all the time. This defeats the purpose of owning a complex and feature full camera in my opinion. Why not just get the best automatic available and just go with that? But since you have already invested in that camera you love so much, find its box, open it up, take out the manual and start reading through it. You might even find online videos on how to use your camera if you are not the reading type.
6. Go through your old photos
We all have a folder full of old photos that we didn’t like back when they were still fresh, I call mine “Pending”. Sure, most of them are surely average at best, that is the reason why they are in the “pending” folder for months or even years. However, looking at old photos after a long time, usually allows us to see them in another light, as Andrew Sweigart mentions in his blog post “Wait! Let those pictures marinate! Read why it is better to wait to edit your images”. So do yourself a favour and don’t discard them yet. Give them another look and you might find something worth sharing!
7. Clean up your online portfolio
This is a big one! Not only does cleaning up your online portfolio require a lot of manual work, but it also requires a lot of self-control, self-criticism and determination. Killing your photos is never easy. If you are like me you have hundreds of photos online, but in reality, only a few are good. And as with everything else, our portfolios are only as good as the worst photos we have published. So, start the trimming process now that you have time on your hands. Begin burying the photos that are average and shape your online portfolio into something that will amaze your visitors. It is all about quality in the end, not quantity. If you don’t believe me, try and name 30 great photos of H.C.B. without looking at your notes. I bet you can’t even name 10 and he is the father of Street Photography with a portfolio expanding over 40 years!
8. Participate and post on online Street Photography groups
If you visit Facebook or Flickr and you search for the term “Street Photography” you will discover many groups in which you can participate. By joining new groups, you can share your work with a new audience, get fresh feedback on your work and meet more like-minded people, expanding your network of friends! Virtual socialisation! I recommend you start with our very own Facebook and Flickr groups.
9. Send in your Camera Bag to Streethunters.net
Now, this is a good one! Back in the good old days when you guys used to send in your camera bags in the dozens, we would share the contents of a bag every Monday evening. It has been some time now since we have received any new camera bags to share. So, why not read this post “Send in more camera bags Street Hunters!” to see what you have to do to participate and send in yours today? It is a very nice way for you to get quick and free exposure if you think about it! Come on people, there are no excuses! Send in your camera bags now!
10. Prepare a Guest Blog post for Streetunters.net
If you have been following us for a while, you will have noticed that we accept guest blog posts from other Street Photographers. All our guest posts are written by Readers such as yourselves or fellow bloggers from other Street Photography websites. You can check out all the Guest Blog posts that we have published in our Guest posts section. Do you have an original idea you would like to share with our Readers? Get in touch with us and share your concept and we will send you a list of writing guidelines for you to follow. Writing and publishing a blog post on Streethunters.net will give you exposure, authority and access to a large number of interested readers. If you are up to the task, we are more than happy to publish it for you!
5 Bonus things you can do
If you find the time to do all the above and you still feel like you might be losing your sanity, here are 5 additional things you can do to pass the time at home, while keeping yourself busy with photography.
1. Make selfies
Stand or sit in front of a mirror and take photos of yourself. Try and create a mini-project out of it. Do close-ups of various body parts of yours, or take selfies at very slow shutter speeds to give the impression of a blurry face. The main thing is to have fun, learn more about your camera and yourself through this process.
2.Take photos of your family members
If you are one of the lucky ones that is quarantined with other members of your family, your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend, then you can turn your attention to them and start photographing them constantly. You can create another mini-project called “how to drive someone crazy by taking their photos all day long for days and days” and then share the results with your friends online. Make sure that the person(s) you choose to photograph doesn’t break your camera or your head before you manage to finish your project.
3. Take photos of your pets
If you don’t have any people to torture with your camera, then you can always turn to your adorable pet(s). Pets will not complain, they will not care and will most probably find the attention you are giving them interesting, unless they are terrapins like in my case and the only thing they care about is eating. Photograph your pets, edit your photos using vivid colours, apply various effects, turn them black and white and you never know, you might get a keeper or two.
4. Take photos of objects in your home in macro mode
I know this goes completely against our principles as Street Photographers, but desperate times require desperate measures. Find your most adequate lens for macro photography and start making photos of everything interesting in your home. Macro photography has its qualities and I think that it is preferable to dropping dead from boredom.
5. Take photos of food
Last but not least, you can take photos of your food! Yes, try various ways of making photos of your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try and make them look as delicious as possible and share them with your friends. Food photography is very interesting. Don’t underestimate it. In food photography light plays an important role. So you will come to understand light better through this process. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose!
If you have any other ideas you would like to share with your fellow readers, please share them in the comments below and I will incorporate them in the blog post with a reference to you. One last thing you should do during these difficult times is to get in touch with your Street Photographer friends from around the world and see how they are doing.
I am sure you have friends in many parts of the world. Friends you have either met in real life or virtually. People you have exchanged a few words with, spent time with, shared a meal or a beer with. Don’t forget about them. It is important to show them that you care and that you are thinking about them, especially if they are living in badly affected countries such as Italy, China, Spain, Germany, Iran, France etc. Sometimes a message from a friend can make these lonely times pass much easier.
Closing, I would like to wish everyone good mental and physical health.
Stay Home & Stay Safe!