Simon's background is in biomedical and health science. He also writes about fashion, nature, and photography.
More to Photography
We all enjoy taking pictures. It's a fun pastime. We take pictures to record a special event in our lives, to keep memories of these events, and to share them with others. In addition to being an enjoyable activity, photography also has a number of health benefits, physically and mentally.
Photography Is Accessible
We now live in a world where almost everyone has access to a camera. We can take pictures using our cell phones, automatic point-and-shoot cameras, or for more serious photographers, advanced DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses. This makes photography widely available to everybody.
With that said, everybody should have the ability to take advantage of the many health benefits of photography.
Physical Health Benefits
Photography, particularly landscape and wildlife photography, brings us outdoors into forests, lakes, and other natural places. We are often walking around looking for the perfect shot. Walking from place to place is a light form of exercise. Hence, while we are searching the landscape for a photo, we are also doing a bit of physical exercise.
Additionally, we are usually standing while doing photography. Whether it be landscape or portrait photography, we tend to stand to take the picture. Standing as we know, is much better than prolong sitting. It makes the body work harder and uses more energy.
Mental Health Benefit: Reduces Anxiety
Surrounding yourself in nature can have calming effects. When you are strolling in the woods looking for subjects to photograph, you are lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It essentially relaxes you.
Also, the process of taking a picture using manual focusing, dialing in the aperture or shutter speed, is a great distraction. You are so focused on getting a great exposure that it takes your mind away from your worries and concerns.
For me personally, one of the symptoms I experience with my anxiety is nausea. This unpleasant feeling often goes away as soon as I start playing with my camera controls to take a picture. It makes me feel more at ease when I am concentrating on taking a photo.
Post-production work may also be another distraction. When we edit our photos, we are so focused on the work that we forget everything else. It temporarily relieves our anxieties.
Mental Health Benefit: Relieves Depression
Sometimes my friend and I would go on a photo shoot together. We would both have our cameras, and go to a park or down to the waterfront together to take photographs. This is a perfect opportunity to be social and do something fun together. Being with friends and doing what we love can elevate our mood and make us feel more cheerful.
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After we have taken some pictures, we often feel satisfied. We feel good knowing that we were productive and that our outing resulted in a number of good photos. We feel pleased having accomplished something.
When we are at home examining all our photos, we often feel joy when we see that our photos turned out well. We are particularly thrilled when creativity shows in our photos. Perhaps we composed the photo elegantly using the rule of thirds, or the colours of our photo really stood out. Having created a beautiful picture will definitely cheer us up.
We may also edit our photos. The process of editing and fixing can also be therapeutic. I do not have Photoshop, but I do have Preview. I like to adjust the exposure and saturation in my photos; it usually improves the photo. When we have made a photo much better, we feel delighted.
Many of us share photos online on social media or on our personal blogs. The positive feedback from our friends and family and even strangers can make us feel proud and happy.
Some of us may even make money from our photos. We may sell it on a microstock website or through other means. It makes us feel overjoyed that other people love and want to buy what we have created.
Photography Is Social
Taking pictures is a wonderful creative activity. It allows us to be artists and "paint" a picture from what we see in our world. This has many benefits. Taking pictures isn't a static activity, rather, it's dynamic. We are moving, shifting, walking. It all counts as physical exercise. Doing photography can also be a social opportunity. We can work on taking photos with our friends. This gives us a chance to be with others, to talk with them, and do something we both love. At the end of our photo sessions, we have a collection of photos. When they turn out well, we are so pleased and happy. Our happiness grows as others compliment our hard work or decide to purchase our photos. As you can see, photography is not just an enjoyable pastime, it also has physical and mental health benefits.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Simon Lam (author) on October 28, 2017:
Thanks for reading my article and for your kind words! I love photography and all the benefit it brings.
Arthur Russ from England on October 28, 2017:
A good angle on the benefits of photography.