Updated: Oct 18
“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” -Bruno Barbey
I think we all need to have a passion that will sustain us in these difficult times, something that will give us energy, that will motivate and inspire us to keep going and stay positive. Those who already enjoy photography will know that it is a great hobby and an amazing career choice for those lucky enough to be able to make a living by taking photographs. But for those who don’t already know how great photography is, and would like to give it a go, here is what I believe makes photography such a great hobby.
#1 It doesn’t have to cost the earth
Entry level cameras are not expensive and produce good images. Most common lenses can be bought second hand. You can do a lot of photography with a few lenses and a basic camera, but even if you don’t want to splash out on any ‘gear’ right away, photography can easily be done with your mobile phone camera. There are many tutorials and online workshops which will help to inspire you and give you lots of tips for getting started with just basic equipment.
Opportunities for beautiful images are to be found everywhere and they can be captured with even a basic camera (image: Olympus E-M10 Mark 2, sunset over Lake Garda)
A simple image taken with a phone camera
#2 You'll meet new people and become part of a great community
Whether you take a face to face workshop in your local area, join a local camera club or participate in an online course and Facebook group, you will meet people who share your interest and you will never be short of something to talk about. Whether asking for or giving suggestions, swapping recommendations for camera gear or getting tips for improving your images from those with an objective view, your social circle will increase and you will get involved in discussions which will keep you stimulated and motivated in your own photography practice.
A face to face workshop provided the opportunity to get out and about and meet people
#3 You'll never be bored
That’s a guarantee! There is always so much to learn, so many aspects to photography that it can become a lifelong journey of discovery. There are technical aspects such as camera settings and shooting modes; composition skills; requirements for different genres of photography; post processing skills and developing creativity. Photography is about getting out, taking photographs, learning from them, and trying again, so it’s an ongoing process always with something new to offer.
Street photography has become a new interest of mine. I look forward to getting back to busy streets
#4 It will nurture your creativity
There are so many creative aspects to photography that it can ignite your creative spark, even one that has lain dormant for a while. Taking out the camera, finding the right location, moving to be in position for the best light, framing the shot taking into account composition guidelines, moving on and doing this all over again, tweaking this or that, making creative decisions on the spot, trying out different techniques, all involve creativity and bring us into ‘flow’ where we become fully absorbed in the task at hand. Back at home we evaluate our images, see what is worth importing into an image editing program for post processing, and exercise our creative muscles all over again in trying to enhance our images and realise our creative vision.
I enjoy experimenting in Lightroom. Here I took away all but one colour
In this image I enhanced the colours in Lightroom
#5 It can help you experience fully what is around you
I find that every time I go to a beautiful place to take some photographs, I also spend some time taking in the experience of the place, the beautiful sight before me, the sounds and the smells. Being in a beautiful location for the purpose of taking photographs brings the added benefit of taking you to places that can lift your spirits and bring joy to your soul. For me, these experiences are to be found in the mountains, in the forests, near the coast, indeed anywhere that nature shows her beauty. As we capture aspects of these places forever in our images, we also absorb experiences that can stay with us forever.
#6 Finally, it can challenge you, physically and mentally
Learning a new skill such as photography develops concentration and stimulates the mind, keeping you alert and active. It gets you out into your surroundings, close to nature, and helps you become more observant. Photography brings you to new places and shows you new things, it often presents challenges to overcome and it constantly gives you the satisfaction of being able to admire something you have created by your own effort. It provides exercise by keeping you moving in pursuit of that better shot (I often walk for miles), it is suitable for all ages and ability levels, and you have nobody to please but yourself. Your images express your individuality.
Some of my images don’t obey composition ‘rules’ but I like them and that’s good enough for me
It's fun and it’s serious, it’s practical and creative, it can be practised outdoors and inside, it supports physical and mental health. Why not give photography a go!
“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” — Marc Riboud