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Running Out of Things to Do while Social Distancing? Here's a List of Ideas.

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Caught up on all o your favorite shows? Done with reading for a few days? Let's go through a few activities that might spark a bit of inspiration.

#1: Indoor Light Painting

Tap into your inner dancer by doing a bit of light painting.

Try hand-holding your source of light for more control, or attaching your light source to a ruler or monopod for perfect angles in your light painting strokes.

This light painting was done at our Beaverton store with two 3-Stop ND filters (6 stop total), a VidPro light (in 'party mode'), shot by a Sony A7III w/ a 24-70 f/2.8. ISO 200, 30 second shutter speed, with the focal range somewhere around 50-70mm.

ND filter assist with light paintings by reducing the amount of light that enters your sensor, turning an already dark corner into a 'pitch black' canvas -- perfect for light painting experiments.

Indoor light painting can be tricky, especially in the small, cramped hallway that we shot in. As you can see, the light you’re painting with can bounce off of shiny surfaces and interfere with a clean painting.

You can work this to your advantage though!

What you need to start light painting:

- camera + any lens

- tripod (necessary)

- remote/timer setting on camera

- a preferably small source of light - ND filters (if the room isn’t very dark/it’s still light out — what we needed in our samples)


Step 1: Place your camera on your tripod and set your settings to the following: Aperture at f/5.6, Shutter speed at 30” seconds, ISO anywhere between 100-400 (fluctuate as needed), timer at 2-10 seconds (give yourself time to run over and light paint).

Step 2: Take your light source and place it mid-way where you’re planning on light painting. Manually focus your lens on the light as close to in-focus as you can manage. You may want to use your live-view mode to zoom in and fine-tune the shot.

Step 3: Take the shot! Run over to where your light source is an start moving your light source around. You may turn off your light source at any moment when you feel “done” with your composition.

Step 5: Take a peek at your creation and repeat.

** Note, if the light source looks too faint, bump up your ISO up a little to increase your sensor’s sensitivity.


#2: Create Your Own Stock Photos

We know, we know, this one sounds boring, but hear us out!

Happen to design on the side? Never finding the right stock photo -- or finding ones that look too 'fake'? Create a stock photo that works perfectly for you! These stock photos are easy samples of how you can show off your styling. The negative space in these two photos are just begging for some bold text.

Stock photos can be sold online as well, and can help you gain more attention on your website/instagram. Check out websites like UnSplash for more details.

How to Take Stock Photos:

1. Grab a camera and a lens that you have that is bright (anywhere from f/1.4-4).

2. Frame your shot with plenty of negative space (key for any kind of file you want to add more information into). Keep the subject centered or off-center. The least fla

3. Take a photo.

Tip: If the photo is too dark, as you may be in a situation where there is less light available, make sure to either edit in a photo editing program OR take the same shot again and reduce your shutterspeed or +1 in exposure compensation.


#3: Edit those Photos

Go through your hard drive and find those photos you half-heartedly edited for that wedding last summer. Sift through what you have, and delete anything you absolutely can't stand. Remember that Marie Kondo show? Marie-Kondo that hard-drive and fix anything you love, but didn't quite put enough effort into. No more throwing photos into random folders! Learn how to properly file name.

Our favorite method is like so: 200313_BLOGPOST AKA YY/MM/DD_FILENAME


#4: Create Digital Double Exposures of your Old Photos

Recycle those old photos that you felt less passionate about.

Creating double exposures in the camera can be quite difficult for some, and that is totally ok! This just means you can create the perfect digital double exposure for YOU.

Here's how we composed this image:

This sample was made in Photoshop by merely selecting the leaf layer and changing the layer type as an “Overlay”. Since the leaf layer felt a bit “strong” for our taste, we also selected the gradient tool to feather the upper half of the leaf layer. This is what we find to be the “easiest” method of creating a digital double exposure effect, without getting into masking and selection tools.


#5: Have a Lovely View of the Road? Create long-exposures of your neighborhood at night!

Living above a busy intersection can have its benefits, you just have the think creatively! Set up a tripod, add a two second time, manually focus on what you want clear, and leave your shutter open for 15-20 seconds.


#6: Have a Photoshoot with Your Pet

This one is obvious, but, it is a huge favorite among pet owners (we've seen plenty of cat/dog/rabbit photos).

Our favorite trick is to coax your pet into cooperating by giving them a treat right before, and after the photoshoot.

Rather than shooting above your furry friend, get on their eye-level (or a little lower), as seen above. This trick works for all shorter subjects (pets and people).


#7: Document what you're Eating!

The least expensive way to become a foodie photographer is arguably by documenting your own food adventures at home!

We emphasize that utilizing natural light is going to help you in the long run.

Don't have very much natural light? Make sure your image is white balanced correctly, or else you may run into those unpleasant green/yellow casts on your food. Reducing those casts will help you come Lightroom time!


#8: Organize Your Negatives, Slides and Photos

No excuses! You've been avoiding this for a while - don't procrastinate now.

Don't have a scanner or organizers at home? We have all the 120, 35mm, and slide sleeves you could need for under $30.

Don't have a scanner at home for those slides? Pick your favorites and drop them off with us and we can get them all scanned for you. 35mm is $.50/frame, slides are $.99/slide + $5/$8 depending on what we're transferring to (CD, USB or Google Drive). We can also get you some prints while we're at it.


#9: Spruce Up your Walls with some photos!

As a thank you for keeping us all safe we want to give back to you!

Enter the Code:

STAYIN (all caps)

When checking out with our online printing service, and you will receive

20% OFF

all print orders.

Along with that discount, we are currently offering FREE SHIPPING on all online orders for camera gear. FREE SHIPPING? Yes, you heard correctly.

We will be offering over-the-phone payments as well and curbside pick-up for anything you'd want sooner than 3-5 business days.


#10: Our Least Favorite Activity: BACK UP ALL OF YOUR FILES!

Grab your hard drives and sync up all of your files. Please do this now rather than later - when you don't have time, or us telling you to do this.


Thank you for reading our blog post! If you are interested in seeing our new blog posts as we release them, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter! This blog post is shareable on social media, so please do share if you found this useful.

Newsletters are updated every week on Thursday.

The Shutterbug is a Oregon Family Owned & Operated Camera Store, with four locations in Oregon. We have been in the industry of helping photographers like you since 1971.

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