Top 10 Things to Do When It's Cold Outside

It’s January.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, that means it’s winter.

And winter means the days are short and the temperatures are low.

Hearing words like “polar vortex”, makes you just want to crawl into a warm bed and hibernate until spring, not grab the camera and go outside to shoot stock photography.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t make these cold and snowy months productive ones. To help you do that, I’ve put together my

“Top 10 Things to do when it’s Cold Outside”

#10 I've got one word for you - Studio. If you have one, plan on spending some time in it. Use these days to try new things, organize equipment and props and give it a good spring cleaning (at least it will make you think warm thoughts). If you don't have one, think about setting one up. You don't need thousands of square feet of empty space to have an effective home studio. Mine is in my basement, but a blank wall in a room or an empty closet can do the trick as well. You can even set up an effective table top studio. And while you don't need to invest in all the latest equipment, this might be a good time to rent something new to try in these homebound months. You never know, it may lead to enough income to allow you to actually purchase it later! Google "home photo studio" for tons of YouTube videos and blog posts on how to inexpensively set up your own.


If you are like me, you HATE finding all the right words for your Title, Descriptions and Keywords. You promised yourself you would spend the time to go back and "clean things up" once you had the time. Well, now you have the time. Revisit all the pictures accepted in the last 12 months to see what you can add to help others find those fabulous images. Think yours are perfect, but want to practice those skills? Try KeyWord Mentoring. This can help you hone your talents while helping out your fellow contributors. While you're at it, think about spending some time cropping and saving your Timeline Images to help increase sales on that platform as well.

#8 Ideate new images. Keep an idea journal close to you, and jot down concepts as they come to you. Look for the Top Selling images in each different categories on dreamstime - not to copy them, but to have them help stimulate new areas to explore. Randomly think of words and search the database for different combinations. Look not only at what IS there, but at what ISN'T there. Find a need and fill it. Browse magazines and catalogs looking specifically at the imagery. Jot down all the ideas that come to you no matter how far fetched they may seem. You may not feel you have the skills at the present to pull off the image in your mind, but .......


Learn a new skill or technique. Look online for instructional tutorials for using your favorite post-processing software. Find and try new filter effects. Think of a new skill you would like to have - then research and practice it. Sometimes we forget that it is not only okay to fail at something - sometimes it is encouraged. How else will we ever learn something new? Play - have fun!

#6 Feeling really adventurous? Branch out into an entirely new creative avenue. If you usually do photos, try video or illustrations. Start simple and see how far you can grow. Don't worry if your end product is stock worthy or not, just have some fun! You never know where those initial experiments will lead you - after all, we all started as newbies in what we do at some point.



I don't just mean your garbage. Look back through your old pictures. Are there some that you were going to submit but never found the time to process? Are there ones that were rejected that could be corrected and resubmitted? Can you use portions of old pictures in composites for new ideas? Would collecting a number of images together that were rejected based on relevancy and making a montage out of them be worthwhile? Spend some time sifting through the "trash" to see if you can find some hidden treasures.

#4 Treat yourself to a short winter break someplace where the weather is a little more agreeable.

Even a quick sojourn to sunnier climes can lift the spirits, and produce some quality stock images.

#3 Bundle up - suck it up - and get out there to shoot. Mother nature provides us a resplendent showing this time of year, and we only need to go outside to enjoy it. There are certain activities, such as snow sports, that are only possible when the mercury dips low. One of my favorite memories of all times was dog sledding in Minnesota in February. Yes, it was COLD, but I wouldn't have passed the opportunity up for anything! Look for cold weather festivals and annual traditions. Trust me, you will always be warmer than the brave people participating in Polar Bear Plunges in communities around the world - why not reward them by getting out to take a few pictures?

#2 Write a Blog! It is a fun way to spend an hour or two. I never fail to come up with creative new ideas for images while I'm putting fingers to the keyboards, and hopefully it will bring a little ray of sunshine to your fellow contributors as they slog through the long, hard winter.

#1 Oh, and in case you didn't notice, the current assignment is All in WHITE!!!!!!!!!!

Dive on in there and get your white-themed pictures!

Photo credits: , Karen Foley.

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June 29, 2015


Wonderful and inspirational article, thank you so much for sharing

January 31, 2014


Great blog, thanks for sharing.... Good luck.

January 31, 2014


Nice blog, thanks for sharing!

January 29, 2014


Great blog as always!

January 27, 2014


Great ideas!

January 26, 2014


I would like to add another reason to #2 Write a Blog - that's the WARM and FUZZY feeling you get when wonderful people leave such kind comments. Thank you soooo much for your generosity!

Clearvista and Alvera - you two absolutely MADE MY DAY!!!!!!!!!!! thank you, K-

January 25, 2014


Thank you Karen. I really like the one about sifting through the trash to find the treasure! I'm going to spend these cold nights doing just that!

January 24, 2014


awesome karen! great ideas and wonderfully useful words of wisdom. love your contest image!

January 24, 2014


Great blog, Karen! Thank you for sharing!

January 24, 2014


Super blog, great ideas! Thank you!

January 24, 2014


Your blog bring ALWAYS a large smile on my face. Keep on writing, you have a loyal reader here. Thanks! (the USEFUL click is mine :)

January 24, 2014


Great advice Karen, thanks for sharing :)

January 24, 2014


Brilliant blog again. I see your name next to a blog and I know I have to read it, because it will be good and this blog proved my point. So many good points not only for beginners in "stock" but also photographers that need a bit more inspiration at this time. Thank you. There are many books written about photography that would not be so thought provoking. Perhaps it's time for you to expand on this blog and create a valuable addition to the photography book shelf.

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