Are you having a hard time doing photography while social distancing?
Do you need some help determining what and how to photograph during these difficult times?
90mm | f/2.8 | 1/320s | ISO 320
You’ve come to the right place.
Because as hard as it is to deal with the current situation, there are still photographic opportunities everywhere.
You just have to know how to see them!
So if you’re looking to capture some great images, even now…
1. Go on walks and photograph the scenery
Plenty of countries are currently in full lockdown, which means that you can only leave your home for exercise.
But while you’re out walking, why not take some pictures?
Obviously, don’t approach people on the street or linger too long in one place.
But there are plenty of gorgeous parks out there where you can capture some stunning landscapes as you walk along.
An image taken on a recent walk.
Canon EF 24-70mm f4L lens|70mm| f/8.0| 1/20s| ISO 200
And if you don’t live near a park, just go for a walk around your neighborhood! Take some photos of trees waving in the sunlight, of flowers starting to bloom in gardens, and more.
The opportunities are endless. The key is to be open to more unusual, spontaneous images.
By the way, I’d recommend using a telephoto lens for this, such as a 70-200mm zoom; that way, you can stay on paths and avoid approaching houses and other people.
I’d also recommend going out at sunrise or sunset, when the light is warm and golden. That way, you can capture gorgeous skies, gorgeous clouds, and just take in the beautiful world.
2. Capture gorgeous macro photos in the garden
It’s now officially spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
With spring comes flowers, and with flowers comes the potential for beautiful macro shots.
Get your closest-focusing lens, or a dedicated macro lens if you have one, and go out into your garden.
You can easily photograph flowers like these in the garden!
Nikon 60mm f2.8 lens | 60mm| f/5.0| 1/200| ISO 320
Look for flowers, and try to capture some beautiful colors, textures, and even more abstract flora shots.
I recommend doing macro photography on cloudy days, because the diffused light will help bring out flower colors.
I also recommend getting down low, on a level with your subject, so you can portray the world from a more intimate perspective.
By the way, if you don’t have any flowers, that’s okay!
You can still photograph plants, trees, buds, or even weeds. The beauty of macro photography is that there are subjects everywhere.
3. Spend time creating a studio in your home
If you’re like me, you’ve always wanted to create a photography studio in your home.
But you just haven’t had the time.
Imagine what you could do with a studio (after all the social distancing is over, that is!).
You could do portrait photoshoots.
You could do pet photoshoots.
You could create all sorts of still life setups.
You could do high-speed photos of balloons popping, or of colored water, or of products, or of food…
Really, you can do tons with a proper studio.
A home studio is great for capturing photos of pets!
55mm| f/6.3| 1/160s | ISO 250
So why not set it up now, while you’re stuck at home?
Here’s what you need:
First, some sort of backdrop. A black tablecloth will work just fine for many purposes, but you can also use a large, white slab of cardboard, a proper photography backdrop (these can be purchased online), or even an interesting wall.
Next, you’ll want at least one light source. You can use natural light, in which case you should simply position your studio near a window (ideally with the window light coming from slightly in front of your setup, so you have light falling on your subject from the front and side).
You can also use artificial light, which is what I’d recommend; this gives you more options and limits you less in terms of shooting on poorly-lit days and at night.
If you do go with artificial light, you’re going to want several speedlights at the very least. I recommend two for beginners, though three is also a good number, and one is adequate if you’d like to keep costs down. These speedlights will need to be held up with light stands, so you’ll want a couple of those.
You’ll also need light modifiers. Options here include umbrellas, softboxes, diffusers, snoots, and more. Though I’d recommend going with a couple of basic umbrellas because these are great for softening the light and easy for beginners to get the hang of.
Last, if you’re doing any sort of product or still life photography, you’re going to want a table. A simple wooden option works well, and it doesn’t have to look new. A bit of texture can make your product shots and still lifes even more interesting!
And speaking of still life photography:
4. Level up your still life photography skills
If you’ve ever considered pursuing still life photography, now is a great time.
You can do still lifes with a studio setup, as discussed above.
Or you can do still lifes without much of anything, except a few subjects, some window light, a table, and a wall.
The latter method is practically free, and it can result in stunning shots. So it’s a great way to get started with still life work over the next few months.
For basic still life subjects, fruit is a great choice (I’m partial to pears and apples, but you can use basically anything).
Flowers, including cut flowers you can grab when checking out at the grocery store, are an excellent option, as well.
In fact, you can do all sorts of cool photography with flowers or fruit. While it’s possible to do classic still lifes, you can also do more abstract shots, like this:
This type of black background, illuminated flower setup is something you can work on when doing still life photography.
Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro | 100mm | f/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 200
Given the current situation, I don’t recommend taking trips to the store just to buy still life subjects.
But if you’re already at the store, there’s not much harm in grabbing a couple of extra apples or a bouquet of flowers.
And, by the way:
You can also do still life photography using objects you find in your home.
Objects such as bowls, plates, silverware, vases, jugs, antiques, and much more.
So don’t feel like you have to go out into the world to get subjects. Some of the best subjects are right in the house with you!
5. Get to know your camera while stuck inside
Cameras are complicated.
Which means that there are probably things you don’t know about them, but should be familiar with if you want to capture the best possible photos.
So, whenever you get the chance, I recommend you turn on your camera and explore.
Start with all the external buttons. Do you know what they can all do?
Then dig into the menu items. Scan over every single option.
While getting to know my camera, I snap a lot of random pictures to test out functions. This is one of my most recent ones!
Canon EOS R | Canon 24-70 f4 lens | 70mm| f/4.0 | 1/160s | ISO 3200
And as soon as you hit something you’re not sure about, or you’re not completely familiar with…
…look it up.
(You can use your camera manual, or you can just do a quick Google search.)
If it’s an especially useful feature, then make a note. And ensure that, the next time you get a chance to do some photography, you try it out.
And by the way, every camera is different. So if you have multiple cameras, I recommend you follow this tip for each and every one of them.
That way, when things are better, you’ll feel much more at home with your camera.
Hopefully, these tips will help you continue to improve your photography while social distancing.
Because while things are tough, it really is possible to keep up your photography!
So good luck, and stay safe! And, as always, share your photos with us in the comments section!
It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.
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