In my last personal post I told you how our last summer in Germany has been with the Covid-19 restrictions. Today I want to focus on different ways and ideas that are helping me to stay busy in my creative business as a wedding photographer in these times of (semi) isolation.
Necessity is the Mother of Creativity
The first wave of the pandemic, in the first months of 2020, forced us to confront situations that we could never have imagined. Confinement, uncertainty and bad news affected us on different levels.
However, staying creative, busy, productive and positive in times of Covid-19 is possible and we see examples on a daily basis. Advertising campaigns, corporate images, television formats, entire businesses …, are successfully adapting to the new situation.
What I want to say is that being positive and, above all, knowing how to adapt, many things that seemed to have been taken from us, will continue to be possible! Like the popular saying that “necessity is the mother of creativity.”
How to Be Creative in Times of Covid-19
Allowing ourselves not to be productive
First of all, and although it sounds contradictory, my recommendation on how to be creative during confinement is to allow ourselves not to be.
I’ve heard so many times that “you can do it if you want it!” which, depending on which occasions, can be frustrating. It’s the ultimate inspirational phrase, and don’t get me wrong, I start this post with that idea myself! However, it is very important to know that each person has a different rhythm and different way of assimilating and reacting to new situations.
The “emotional poser” is a popular figure these days. Listening to positive people will do us the greatest good, of course, but comparing ourselves and submitting ourselves to an imposed ideal of self-improvement, might cause us anxiety when we cannot achieve that well-being status as other people do.
The importance of little steps
Training is essential. However, there are so many channels offering classes, courses, discounts and products that it seems that we are never going to reach the “end of the race” or that we are not doing enough.
I have seen myself in the situation of watching different broadcasts at the same time until deciding which one was the best for me. While I was watching an interesting talk about studio photography on my computer, on the laptop the top wedding planners were being interviewed; and more notifications continue appearing by the minute . I mean, you have to know how to say ‘enough! up to this point!’.
Setting a realistic agenda will be vital to avoid going mad and prioritizing the content that will benefit us the most is the key to success. Being locked down at home doesn’t mean that the day will have more hours to fill, so take it easy and establish schedules for each activity.
In recent months I have understood that procrastination is not always the bad guy.
Top 14 Ideas to do During Confinement
How to Be Productive in Your Creative Business
While making this list of ideas on how to be creative, I have realized that these tasks are also valid to carry out during the slow season of weddings (or other sectors), that is, in the winter mainly and periods of relaxed work.
Optimize your SEO
Sitemaps, keywords, copywriting, headings, strategic content, sub-headings… SEO implementation is not exactly the most exciting or creative activity in the world, but after a master class with Stephanie de La Torre, I have realized the importance of improving SEO (search engine optimization).
Optimizing SEO is adapting the keywords of our website, image descriptions and texts in general so that Google and other search engines can find our content when a user does a search that can take them to our website.
Notice that it is not an easy task and the results may take months, I would say even years to come, but it is super important. With a good SEO strategy and consistency, you will be amazed at the benefits!
Revisit your Work
It is a good time to visit your work from other seasons and make a selection of what can be ‘recycled’ and collected. In my case, as a wedding photographer, I have had the opportunity to examine old folders, re-edit images and prepare new content for social networks, PDFs, and my blog.
Plan your Publications on Social Networks
I have recently discovered the Facebook Creator Studio application, that allow us to schedule posts on Facebook and Instagram.
Posting on Instagram through Facebook Creator Studio does not entail any risk of being penalized as others third-party application might cause (Instagram belongs to Facebook).
Unlock the full potential of Pinterest
Many think that Pinterest is just another social network, or that it is only designed for blogging moms, cooking recipes and craft experts. Pinterest is that and much more. Just like Google, it is a search engine for images and resources, where users flock for inspiration.
In the last few weeks I have started to raise my Pinterest presence strategy after acquiring a very interesting course called “Pinterest for Photographers”.
This workshop has opened the powerful Pinterest world to me. My account is already working and my pins are going up.
Add Value Content to your Blog
Related to the previous point about SEO, writing blog posts on topics of interest to our ideal client will give your website authority when it comes to ranking in Google searches. It is important to know how to do it to get the most out of it and not just write for the sake of writing (that can also be therapeutic though).
That is how the section of my blog “Tips & Inspiration” was created.
Combining blogging activity with SEO, I have now come across a WordPress plugin that many experts already call one of the best to implement SEO. This is Rank Math. I have installed it on my website and I really like the features it has and the ones it will include in its PRO version coming soon.
Submit your Work to Publications
If you are a photographer like me and you follow the world of wedding magazines and blogs, you will know that this year 2020, obviously, has meant a decrease in the number of events taking place, due to the restrictions of the pandemic.
These magazines have seen virtually no content to post on their pages and blogs, so this is the best time to send wedding and editorial work to these publications for a higher chance to be accepted and published.
Shoot Stock Imagery
Being active on social networks daily requires a large number of images to illustrate the topics to be discussed. Collaboration projects with other vendors such as florists, calligraphers, or wedding stationary designers will help us create quality content and images that speak to our brand.
As I said before, training is vital, but you have to take it easy and know how to invest your time and money in what is really going to help you. There are so many training channels on YouTube and other platforms that it is difficult to choose.
In my experience, I can safely say that 70-80% of what I currently know I have learned thanks to Creative Live. This is a never-ending source of inspiration and workshops for creatives in fields from Photography and Video to Finances, Crafts or Personal Growth.
On the other hand, Facebook groups are very convenient as they offer valuable content and a community of people willing to help and interact.
For professionals in the world of weddings, I recommend the Facebook group “The Business of Weddings Lounge”. It’s free and every week there are new activities, challenges, resources, and ideas. It also has a private monthly membership part with exclusive content and it’s totally worth it.
At the beginning of the year (what times were those, eh!) I attended the classroom course “Una Editorial de Éxito” by Renata Enamorada. You can read more about my experience here. Due to the success of this workshop, they are still giving new editions both in person and in their online version. 100% recommendable! More info here.
Update your Dossiers and / or Personal Brand
This is the best time to review your business dossiers and documents. Update the design and information of these and create new ones that will benefit the experience of your customers and, therefore, your business.
In my case, in this time, I have taken the opportunity to create something that I wanted for quite some time. This is “The Bridal Guide”, a complete handbook where I answer the most common questions that couples planning their wedding have been asking me over the years.
It has been a totally satisfying project for me, since it has also allowed me to create new content for my blog. You can find more information on “The Bridal Guide” here.
How to Enhance Creativity in Your Daily Life
Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. The good news is that we can do it in a joyful way, even during our moments of leisure and relaxation.
Not only is it recommended, I would say that it is mandatory to give the brain a break time here and there. Once the creative challenges are set, it will continue to work on them in the background while we devote our attention to other more possibly relaxing tasks. The following examples have worked for me.
Make Personal Projects
We always complain, at least I do, that we never have time to develop that idea that goes around our minds. Well, now the moment you have been waiting for has arrived!
Creating for the pleasure of creating, without any other purpose, opens our minds to new possibilities and experiences and, in addition, it will take us out of the routine of our work that can cause so much stress these days.
This can be writing a story or novel, making a recipe book, taking a series of photographs of our daily life or tidying up that drawer of old memories. Any personal project will help us to evade and exercise creativity as the muscle it is.
Turn your Project into Quality Family Time
For those with children or other dependents, it is a great idea to adapt some of these projects so they can participate. This way, in addition to fulfilling our task as caregivers, we will spend more creative quality time with the family.
I particularly love designing photoshoots with my nephews. Something far from my job as a wedding photographer which refreshes me creatively. For each birthday party, we do a different session (or two!) Cake included!
Complement your Hobby with a Creative Project
Locking myself in the kitchen to bake is one of my ways of escaping, which is why it is one of my favorite hobbies. If you have the time, you can try complementing some of them with a parallel creative exercise. For example, I really enjoyed documenting the process and results of these recipes with photographs.
Although it may seem like something exclusively for children or to do with them, crafts can be a great creative exercise. I recommend some of The Paper Flower Garden kits.
Take a marathon or movie challenge
If you love movies, I have a proposal for you. I remember how last year, during the August holidays, my boy and I set out to do a movie challenge, which consisted of watching a movie every day, with the particularity that each one should have a different release year.
It was a great occasion to watch films from every era that we would not have come to or consider otherwise.
If you prefer documentaries to fiction, on Netflix, for example, there are many special shows, biopics and series that I have found absolutely inspiring. An example is the miniseries “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker ” with quotes like “ It came to me in a dream ”.
Disconnect from Screen
Through our computers and smartphones we have access to an infinite number of contents thanks to the Internet. However, it is important to limit the hours we spend in front of the screen, since many times it will restrict our creativity. It is simply not organic.
Writing on paper instead of a text editor, reading the content of a book instead of a web, or looking at the photos of a magazine instead of a blog are good practices.
Going out for a walk, respecting the regulations of each place, and perhaps turning the walk into an impromptu photo-tour, is a creative solution that, at least for me, has worked .
- All people are creative by nature. We just have to find our way to ‘click’.
- Self-knowledge is important to know our limits when confronting new situations.
- Procrastination is not always the bad guy.
- Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. This can be done with everyday leisure tasks like the examples I explain in the post.