Ideas for Photographers to Stay Creative & Productive

April 24, 2020

By Jacqueline Tobin

For our first webinar, a panel of three wedding and portrait photographers—(from left) Jasmin Neidhart, Caroline Tran and Quyn Duong—shared their insights to staying creative, productive, connected and centered while stuck at home.

On Friday, April 24, we hosted our first webinar on the topic of the hour: Creativity in Quarantine. With government-mandated social distancing requirements in place from the outbreak of COVID-19, everyone has been forced into isolation, which has deeply affected wedding photographers as well as portrait photographers in different ways.

[Check out our consolidated resource and survival guide for photographers on navigating all things business during the pandemic.]

That’s why we thought it was important to gather a few voices in the wedding and portrait industry to talk about staying creative as an artist, staying productive as a business, staying connected as a community and staying centered as a person.

The panel of speakers included Quyn Duong, Jasmin Neidhart and Caroline Tran. These photographers have spoken and mentored at WPPI, and they have all, at some point over the last eight years, received the designation as a 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography, Rangefinder’s prestigious competition that recognizes exceptional wedding talent. (If you’re curious about the annual 30 Rising Stars competition, read how to get nominated, submit a strong portfolio of images and other tips here.)

Toward the end of the conversation with the panelists, we opened up the webinar to Q&A with the virtual audience. The webinar, which was sponsored by Fujifilm, was recorded, so even if you missed the live broadcast, you can still register and watch the full webinar. Once registered, you’ll also be able to download a free resource guide with helpful links and articles relating to the topics discussed.

Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:

Education Geared for Isolation

Caroline Tran shared her private Facebook group where she prompts participants with weekly photography challenges to do and share from home. It sparks inspiration that photographers might not have encountered on their usual shoots with clients, and it helps encourage them to exercise those creative muscles while they’re stuck at home.

She has also continued providing photographers with education-from-home guides on topics like how to improve shooting with indoor lighting to make it truly capture-worthy.

Starting a Print Shop with a Cause

photos from quyn duong's print shop set up during covid-19 with relief funds
Photos for sale on Quyn Duong’s online print shop. © Quyn Duong

Photographers are wise to use this time to finally launch those creative projects that they never had the time for before. Set up the right way, they might even make you some money while you’re in quarantine.

Quyn Duong thought to assemble a print shop comprising work she has shot over the last few years. “It felt really good to get this work out there,” she said. Duong explained how she was able to set it up so that 50 percent of her print sales went to COVID-19 relief funds. With labs closed, Duong also explained how she prints from home.

Mindful Restructuring of Your Day

While productivity is important, Duong pointed out that this is a good time to slow down and allow yourself the space to process and recalibrate on a personal level. After doing the necessary research into wedding contracts and small-business loans, Duong has doubled down on meditating and maintaining a healthy distance from the constant barrage of news.

Jasmin Neidhart wrote an article for us about how to inspire creative energy in isolation, and in the webinar, she shared some of the ways that she’s been able to restructure her day to benefit herself mentally and on a creative level.

Activities for Your Clients

stop-motion animation photography tutorial video for kids in isolation quarantine by caroline tran

With two boys at home, Tran explained that balancing business and creativity with homeschooling has been a major challenge. In addition to shooting weddings, engagements, boudoir and branding, Tran photographs babies and families.

With those clients in mind, she put together a tutorial video to show parents how they can create stop-motion animation photography with their kids. It’s a fun activity to keep kids busy, but it’s also a way to remind clients of Tran’s presence at this time, and to show them that photography is valuable, pandemic or not.

Recommended Reading and Listening

What better time than now to dig into a good book or podcast?

Duong recommended that creatives read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, a 12-week course book that’s designed to lead artists through a path to a higher level of creativity. “It had been sitting on my shelf for a while,” Duong said, “and I thought if I were to ever embark on a 12-week course, now is the time to do it.” With Duong isolating at home with her dog in New York, she is finding her journey through The Artist’s Way to be an especially helpful way of gaining a clearer understanding of herself as an artist as well as the work that she has developed over the last decade.

Likewise, Neidhart has found value in working her way through the Emotional Intelligence collection of books by the Harvard Business Review, which help connect the emotional side of business with being a human. Neidhart also started a podcast called The Bloom Seeker, where she interviews creatives. (Her first episode was a deep dive in how to become a Rangefinder 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography.)

The webinar truly covered the gamut; it is absolutely worth registering and tuning into the full conversation for more details and tips from the photographers on how to survive business and life in the time of COVID-19.

Stay safe out there!