Photo by Annie Spratt
The virus crisis continues to take its toll on the photography industry but amidst the fear and uncertainty, there is also a lot of positivity.
Photographers are supporting each other, learning new skills and are using the extra time to invest in other areas of their business. It’s no surprise that our incredible creative community has devised so many different and interesting ways to stay positive and productive.
Here is some inspiration we’ve seen whilst online – and six things you can do today!
It’s never been easier to build an online presence and community. Over the past couple of weeks, social media has been full of creatives offering workshops or other ways of engaging with their work.
Use live streaming platforms
We spotted Michelle Grace Hunder using live streaming platform Twitch to stay productive. She said it was really helping to lift her mood. Michelle was recently using Twitch to look at specific photos in her portfolio. She was discussing the particular technical setups as well as some great lighting tricks and tips!
Get creative with Instagram
- Photo by Hans Vivek
A lot of photographers are also making the most of Instagram stories and Instagram live. They are giving their followers the opportunity to ask questions or join them on other platforms like Youtube.
Zoe Noble gives excellent photography and retouching tips. She gives her followers the chance to really engage with her style and process through her Instagram. Definitely one to follow for inspiration on how to branch out into education.
It’s also important to continue laughing and having fun with creativity during this difficult time. Give Max Siedentopf a follow for a great creative initiative that sets daily challenges for photographers.
“Over the last two weeks, the entire world has been flipped upside down. Most of our shoots were canceled and we’re forced to stay at home. But don’t let this get you down. There are so many opportunities to create new and exciting work and turn this into something positive! Together with everyone that’s stuck at home I want to create a survival guide of boredom. Each day I will post a series of instructions, choose the ones you like most and turn it into something fun” – Max Siedentopf via Instagram.
Here are some useful resources: https://photographyspark.com/guide-to-networking/ https://www.godaddy.com/garage/digital-networking-for-photographers-6-tips-for-improving-your-exposure/ https://www.canva.com/learn/heres-promote-photography-instagram-like-pro/ https://animoto.com/blog/video-ideas/instagram-stories-photographers-tips-inspiration
Having shoots rescheduled or canceled is hugely disappointing, but there are ways you can continue producing new images for clients whilst staying in isolation.
Online retail businesses are not slowing down in the current climate – and they need great product shots.
- Photo by Glow Repose
A lot of photographers will already have the basics at home. You should be used to improvising backgrounds and lighting! For example, you can make a shooting table out of a chair you have in your home or office.
Perhaps you could skip the shoot but help brands with post-processing or retouching of their images? It’s worth reaching out to potential clients during this time to let them know that great images will boost their brand and sales. Let them know you’re on hand to help.
Find out more here: https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/how-to-rock-product-photography-on-a-budget/#how-to-create-product-photography-guidelines https://www.shopify.com/blog/12206313-the-ultimate-diy-guide-to-beautiful-product-photography https://expertphotography.com/types-of-product-photography/
Get your copyright under control
Protecting your image rights is a necessary part of any thriving photography business.
Unfortunately, it’s a task that can get neglected. Properly enforcing your rights helps to keep the industry healthy. If businesses can use your work for free, with no consequences – there is no incentive for them to hire you!
Using a reverse image search platform such as Pixsy means your work is actively monitored for unauthorized use. The Pixsy team is also on hand to pursue lost licensing revenue for you. It’s free to create an account. Once you’re set up you can be confident you’ve taken the necessary steps to control how and where your work is used. You could also be in line for payment.
If you’re aware of any instance where your work has been used without proper permission it’s also worth contacting Pixsy for a free assessment.
- Use Pixsy To Register Your Images
Now is also the ideal time to register your images with a government body like the United States Copyright Office. You don’t need an official registration to enforce your rights, but it is a great added layer of protection.
Fact – In the US, you need a USCO registration to file a lawsuit – but damages are up to $150,000 per image.
You can register up to 750 photos at the USCO at once, providing they were published in the same year. You can also register single images. This is particularly useful when you have one or several images that are very regularly used without your permission.
It’s a great time to take action to recover the money you are already owed for the use of your work!
Here are some useful resources: https://www.pixsy.com/academy/image-owner/us-copyright-office/ https://www.pixsy.com/academy/image-owner/image-theft-what-to-do/ https://blog.flickr.net/en/2020/03/05/how-flickr-pro-photographer-jamie-macdonald-fights-image-theft-with-pixsy/ www.pixsy.com
Retouching And Editing
Now is a great time to use your retouching and editing skills. You can create offers and use the time to keep your skills up to scratch, whilst hopefully generating some business.
- Restoration of old or damaged images
- Color grading
Perhaps it’s time to sit and commit to culling, editing and retouching some of your existing work to make sure your portfolio is up to date? You will then be ready to look for new work once the industry begins to recover.
There are many resources available online that can help you to get to work on this. Adobe, for example, has been offering discounts and benefits on Creative Cloud.
Useful resources: https://retouchingacademy.com/five-ways-to-improve-your-retouching/ https://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/image-editing-skills-tools-for-photographers/
Turn your portfolio into merchandise
We’ve spotted a lot of entrepreneurial photographers putting their archives to good use by moving to or offering special prints sales. Some are taking it one step further and retailing merchandise featuring their images. One genius move from Canadian photographer, Mike Isaak was to produce puzzles.
“During this period of self-isolation, I am thinking of ideas to help all of you pass the time, but also other ways to support myself financially. Are there any puzzlers out there? Thinking of turning my images into puzzles with 10% going to charity” – Mike Isaak, via Twitter
You can get really creative with the types of products you want to offer. There are a lot of drop shipping platforms who will produce and ship your items for you.
Word of warning – check terms and conditions to make sure you are preserving your image rights and not inadvertently making your image available to anyone it shouldn’t be!
Here are some resources to get you started: https://www.smugmug.com/catalog https://www.shopify.co.uk/dropshipping
Take Care Of Your Kit
- Photo by James Pond
Now is an ideal time to take stock of your photo gear. Invest some time to make sure everything is in good condition. You can also give it a proper clean.
You might be surprised by what you have and it could also be a good opportunity to sell some gear. Many photographers are trying to keep an eye on their cash but there are also a lot of photographers who are at home, online and browsing for the kit they need.
Helpful tips: https://digital-photography-school.com/clean-care-camera-gear/ https://www.slrlounge.com/sell-all-your-used-camera-gear-and-buy-a-whole-new-kit/
None of us saw this type of disruption coming. We hope this article has been helpful. It’s important that we come together as an industry and community, we are #InItTogether. If you have any top tips for staying positive and productive or would like any help or support, please feel free to reach out to us.
Other good resources: PPA Resources - https://www.ppa.com/inittogether ASMP Webinar - https://www.asmp.org/strictly-business-blog/strictly-business-webinar-video-potential-business-ramifications-of-coronavirus-covid-19/