A Guide to Documenting Your Quarantine

March 29, 2020

I started my professional career as a journalist, and in a lot of ways I’m still influenced by the idea of documenting life through a photojournalistic lens. This is a particularly crazy time. I can’t help but feel the journalist in me want to tell the story of this coronavirus pandemic, even if it’s just my story of the coronavirus pandemic.

And as much as we may be upset, frustrated, a little freaked out or just plan annoyed by the current state of our world, this time of staying home to stay safe from the coronavirus is something none of us will ever forget. I think that’s worth documenting.

So, let’s talk about how to get creative when photographing your time in quarantine.

Get In On the Action

Life feels like it’s come to a standstill, but there is still plenty happening inside our homes. What are you doing to fill your days? Photograph that! For example, I’m honing my baking skills by trying out new recipes and attempting my first sourdough starter. Photograph whatever it that you’ll tell your grandkids you did to stay occupied the spring of 2020 when we all had to stay inside. Take the pictures so you can show them too.

Capture the Whole Scene

That’s right, friend, grab that wide angle lens or just take your iPhone and back the freak up. Try to get some images that show the entire room you or your loved ones are in. Whether you’re doing a makeshift work station in the living room, or an empty kitchen with just your cup of coffee in the window, a wide shot sets the scene.

Find Emotion

This can be your kids literally jumping up and down on your bed because they have too much energy. Or your puppy curled up on your couch, sleeping in the sunshine. Or a self portrait showing you looking peaceful, sad, prayerful, happy or however you genuinely feel right now. Just look for a scene that either makes you feel something, or where you see other people feeling something and snap away.

Let Go of “The Rules”

Now is the best time to just have fun. Don’t worry about rules. Throw your expectations out the window. Play with light and movement. Shoot photos that make you happy and tell your story. There’s a lot happening and a lot on our minds, so don’t let this weigh you down, too.

Let’s have fun and document our quarantines in a way that will make us happy, AND give us a visual diary to show our kids and grandkids that one year where the whole world stayed inside to save our friends and neighbors.

If you’re reading this around the time it’s published, I hope that you’re safe, warm and healthy. And I really, really that you’re staying home, friend. And when this is all over, let’s all go hug the sh*t out of our doctors, nurses, EMTs and all of the other medical professionals pulling us through this mess.

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