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Well, its been a rollercoaster of a couple of weeks.

A camping trip with my two sons resulted in my tripod holding my camera being knocked over by a car door. The outcome is a terminally impact damaged lens and a camera body in for repair.

It was my fault and I should have put the camera away….

Enough of the sob story, I don’t need sympathy but I wanted to write a post about what us photographers get up to when we are not out taking pictures. My camera still won’t be back for another 1-2 weeks as the camera repairer I use currently has a backlog (end of wedding season I suppose??).

So what can I do to keep the creative juices flowing over the next few weeks?

broken Sony 70-200mm lens
My broken Sony 70-200 f4 G OSS - I had it less than a week!

Tidying up my Image Catalogue

Well, I’ve started with cataloguing and keywording my images. This is something I do every now and again, but as I’ll not be taking new photos for a while, it’s a great chance for me to catch up.

This brings me nicely to the next creative thing I do when I’m not out taking photographs…

Creating images for micro-stock.

I contribute to Adobe Stock and upload images for people to buy for use in graphic projects, websites, articles, etc. I receive a small amount of cash every time an image is sold. Stock photography is a bit of an art form in itself. It’s hard to know what people are looking for. You need to consider things like space for text, what trends are on the go and what colours are popular. So, there is generally a churn of pictures to submit and revision of keywords on ones that have already been accepted.

As a by product of cataloguing and keywording, I’m identifying those of my images that might be suitable for stock and those I can create images for stock using tools like Photoshop to isolate subjects and replace backgrounds etc.

Learning

I’m hitting the books and looking back at my photography skills to make sure I’m not getting too rusty. I’m sure my feel for the camera will take a little while to come back but if I can focus on the theory side in the mean time, I should be back taking photos I’m happy with before I know it.

I’m also looking at my Photoshop skills. As a Lightroom user who dabbles from time to time with Photoshop, I know that my skills in Photoshop are not that great. Youtube and books are my sources for learning at the moment – there is an absolute stack of information out there and it’s going to be interesting and fun learning new tips and tricks to help me create my micro-stock  images.

​Thinking about Christmas Fairs

Most of my sales come through having a stand at local events and craft fairs and Christmas is a busy time. Greetings cards tend to be one of my most popular products and I now have time to create new designs for this year’s Christmas fairs. I have considered doing a calendar this year but given the financial outlay (and the repair bill for the camera) I’m not in a position to produce one this time around. Watch out in 2020 for a 2021 calendar though.

Finding new ways to fit photography in with family life

More and more my photography is becoming more advanced and technical, gear gets more expensive and each shot takes more time to set up and make. I’m now starting to understand I need to keep photography and family life separate as the kids just don’t understand how difficult it can be, get bored easily and don’t respect my gear. I’ll still take a camera on days out, just not my best one and leave the rest of my gear at home.

Landscape photography will be kept to those occasions when I can nip out on my own and enjoy a few hours with the camera.

All-focus
A trip to a vintage vehicle show with my Son's James and Jenson

Research into locations

Once I’ve got a date for a photography trip in mind, I’ll look at things like the weather, where the sun/moon will be in the sky, any astronomical events and also look at nice things/views to take pictures of. My photography tutor always says that the background makes the picture and he’s so right. It’s important to plan the trip so the light is in the right place, the foreground looks good and there is a pleasing background.

Looking at other photographers for inspiration

I’ll also spend time looking at other photographer’s work on sites like 500px and Instagram. I am also a member of the Guild of Photographers. Their image of the month competition is a great place to look for current popular images. I might also get a coffee table book from the library as these can sometimes be enough to get me up off the sofa and out taking pictures if I’m feeling a bit down about my work.

Writing blog articles on here

I enjoy writing about photography and it really does motivate me to take more pictures too. I have a few articles in the pipeline on the subject of Lightroom (the first, can be found here) and i’m hoping to help those new to using digital cameras understand that clicking the shutter is just the start – you have to edit (or develop) your pictures too.

Building things

All of my camera gear is stuffed into a few bags and a couple of drawers – it’s hard to find things.

I really enjoy woodwork so I’m planning on building a wall cabinet to store all of my equipment, and also hide away my bookshelf, which looks a total mess. Photography books come in all shapes and sizes and I would quite like to hide the shelves away behind some doors.

I want a place for everything and everything in it’s place.

I’m also hoping that the woodwork side of things will also give me some subjects for stock photographs too – lots of shavings and planings are in my mind at the moment :).

Finally I'm looking forward to spending more time just being a Dad!!

Anyone with a young family knows that you feel extremely busy all the time. I’ve been so busy being busy that quality time has been cut short. I suppose that is the peril of anyone who tries to run a side business as well as a full time job, all the while juggling being a parent.

Now do I really want that camera back just yet – lets see….

       

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