Currently, it’s such a weird time that I had to write a blog. To be able to really remember these times and what is happening all around us. Something that was only happening in movies is now the new reality – there is a virus outbreak. It’s called the coronavirus, or COVID-19. It sounds scary and at first it also was. Not knowing how bad it would actually affect people, there were scary stories on the news of many people dying – first in China, then big outbreaks in Italy and Spain and eventually also the Netherlands. At first it seemed like the virus would stay in China and we would be fine in Europe, but of course that was naive. With all the traveling around the world that is going in on – it spread super fast. A lot of countries went into ‘lockdown’ not being able to leave their houses at all. And end of March, it’s gotten to a point in the Netherlands as well that everyone was sent home from work.
Coronavirus impacting all of us
Everyone was first joking about it, having fun about when we would see each other again, joking that the virus wasn’t too bad. But soon the seriousness of the situation became clear – hospital IC’s were overflooding, schools were closed, elderly people were dying in large numbers, events got cancelled and the restaurants had to close: People needed to stay home as much as possible. Luckily, we were still able to go outside, as long as we kept our distance: 1,5 meter. I’m writing this as it’s been something from the past, well that’s not true – It’s May now and we’re still working from home. It is still very uncertain where it’s going, we cannot see our friends and are very much bound to home. Luckily, they’ve just announced that they will undo some of the restrictions, so I’m very curious to see how that will go.
First steps to improving photography skills
The fact is, we need to find a new normal and get comfortable with being at home a lot. The good thing is, I really don’t mind about staying home much! I’m actually loving to spend so much time with my boyfriend and seeing him all day! Also, this new period gives me time to think about how I want to spend my time – of course lot of it still goes to work, but I also want to do more with my free time around that. And one of those things is improve my photography skills.
Improving editing skills
The first thing I did was get an Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop license from my work – benefits of being a marketer ;) Adobe Lightroom is great and includes a lot of examples of how you can edit your photo’s. I was already experimenting a lot with the free version. But the paid version is really recommended as it unlocks some more advanced features that really can improve your photographs in a more professional way. Also, it’s recommended to shoot your photographs in RAW. In that way, it gives you the possibility to edit the white balance of the picture.
Using my camera more in the Netherlands
Secondly, I try to get my camera out a lot more. Basically the only thing we can do outside is go for walks and bicycle rides and for this I’m taking the opportunity to bring my camera along more. I was always thinking that the Netherlands wasn’t pretty enough for photography – always the boring same landscapes, some windmills and tulips. I got the feeling that I’ve seen it all. But I started following some more Dutch Photographers on Instagram and it made me realise that when you look better – you can still find creative spots for photo’s and the nature and cities are actually very pretty for photography as well!
The best way to improve your photography skills is just trying over and over again – finding new interesting angles.
Increasing my Instagram audience and engagement
Then, with having more photographs being taken in the Netherlands, editing the pictures, I’m also trying to post more on Instagram. I had the habit to only post a lot when I travel – but I feel like I should also post more from the Netherlands. While doing that, I’m trying to increase my audience with using relevant hashtags, tagging feature pages and following other photographers and commenting on their posts. I also cleaned up my instagram and archived some of the more personal pictures, so it would turn more into a photography account, that people are interested into following.
Selling my photographs
Another thing, that is really exiting to me, is that I opened my own ‘shop’ for selling my photographs. I recently came across to a website called ‘ohmyprints’ or in Dutch ‘werkaandemuur’. It’s a website which allows photographers to upload their work and they arrange printing the art on different materials, like canvas, fotopaper, wood or even wallpaper. When your photograph is sold, you’ll receive a commission on it and some of it goes to the company. I’m really curious to see if my work is being found and maybe will sell anything. You can always try! ;) You can find my shop here (dutch version) Or here (german version), or here (french version).
What’s next? My plans are to probably improve my photography gear – not quite sure if I want a completely new set, or only a new lens. I currently shoot with a Nikon d5300 and a kit lens of 18-55mm – not really spectacular. I just want to increase the quality of my pictures and have more room for experimenting with different lenses (like a zoom lens for a nice compression effect, or a portrait lens which gives a nice Bokeh effect). I want to get in touch more with other photographers, learn from them. Maybe even follow a photography course. It’s really nice to focus on something like this besides my job. My goal would be to be able to make some money with photography and really just to improve my skills. I don’t really have a business plan set up for it yet – maybe that’s something i’ll need to do. Or I will just keep it as a hobby to keep me distracted from all the Covid-19 mess ;)