A photograph is the best representation of a memory, and undoubtedly, the best storyteller.
Photography is an art form. What started back in 1717 with stencils and nitric acid has now turned into something much more sophisticated. It was not until the 1820s that we discovered a way to capture light on a frame.
Needless to say, digital cameras have taken photography to a whole new level of depth and detail. Macro settings on cameras allow you to take photographs of subjects as small as a fly with the utmost details, whereas shutter speeds can be moderated to capture fast-moving objects without a blur. We have advanced from a backdrop in a black box with a small hole, to films, Polaroid, and DSLRs. All technicalities aside, photography is a great hobby to take up. It is a passion that can benefit you on a psychological level and can be monetized if you get good at it.
Here are the reasons why I chose to start photography as a hobby:
I immortalized my memories with my camera
While moments last only a while, a picture lasts forever. Every time I went out on a trip, be it for work or pleasure, I’ve met amazing people, gone through out-of-this-world experiences, and was mesmerized by the beauty of nature and the culture of the local people. I regretted every bit of the lost stories that I couldn’t capture with the camera I have now.
Back then, I started with the 12mp camera on my phone. Now, my Canon is my ultimate travel companion. I capture anything and everything that tells a story, and immortalize my relationships, affiliations, and experiences so I can always go back for the Goosebumps.
I had stress; photography helped me out of it
Life is inevitably stressful, and recreation is the key to relieve pent-up stress. I’ve had stress from work and very little social engagements, which dulled my life. Photography allowed me to exercise my creative side and has made me into someone who just simply “got out.”
I took my phone out on walks and visited parks and lakes, exposing myself to nature, fresh air, and “perspective.” It not only encouraged me to walk more to get to a particular spot to capture—let’s say, a sunrise—but also gave me content that I could later sell to a platform.
Photography made me a part of a community
The worldwide community of photographers is enormous. As I started in the field, I was able to reach out to other photographers. I’ve reached out to my favorite photographers and platforms/organizations that later hired me for work, learned from other experienced writers, and made a lot of friends. Now that I come to think about it, I was able to create a whole new social circle through these open platforms.
What’s more, is that:
Once you’ve gradually integrated into this diverse community of active and creative individuals, you will learn about events and meet-ups you can go to, competitions you can take part in, and courses you can do to further your knowledge and experience.
I went out more because I wanted to photograph
In the past couple of years, I’ve traveled with photographers to capture amazing landscapes, gone on research projects to click portraits, and went on nature expeditions for wildlife photography. Even though I wasn’t able to make money off of some of these captures, I was still able to develop my skills and gather priceless experiences. I became an extrovert from a somewhat introvert.
Photography is never-ending
I always believed that I spoke through my photographs. Every time I took a picture, it told a story. And that was my art. This allowed me to never run out of topics. There is always something to be said about something that has happened or is ongoing, and I would always run after the story. And with every chase, there is always something new to learn.
Photography gave me direction and perspective
Initially, I was into landscape photography. It was easier and fun to do, and it made me travel. As I moved towards portraits, I learned to capture emotions and stories. Now that I have a much more advanced camera, I can take macro photographs, which has made me notice more intricate details of my subjects. My journey with my cameras has led me to grow and redirect myself towards a sustainable hobby. Here’s how:
It improved my communication skills
The irrepressible urge to reach out to, let’s say, a man selling dried starfish on a beach, and convincing him to allow me to take candid portraits while he worked, taught me how to talk to people. It took a while to get the “first approach” right, but eventually, I was able to communicate with everyone quickly and explain my motives concisely to get what we call, “permission for photography.”
I also had to learn more about my subjects for a story angle, which obliged me to talk to the people involved. My communication skills grew with my experiences.
It made me seek the unknown
Photography has made me interested in almost anything. I look for documentaries and stories online and offline all the time to find new topics to work on. Over the past couple of years, I have broken out of my chrysalis on multiple occasions to experience something new.
I was able to monetize my hobby
When I first started, making money was not my objective. A hobby is something you simply do for yourself. Regardless, the option was open. After reviews from other professional photographers, I enlisted my photographs in online Photo Stocks and submitted series of captured stories to media portals. It took a little bit of time, but soon, I was getting noticed.
Eventually, I looked into other sources of revenue in the field. I’ve photographed my friends’ weddings, done covers on office events, and worked on projects for NGOs—the possibilities are limitless. Currently, a decent chunk of my monthly income comes from online sales and assignments.
Photography made me see value in insignificant subjects
I’ve always seen professional photographers use props to recreate a scene from their imagination. Kai Bottcher, for example, sees value in props and backgrounds that other people may not see, and he uses these to compose his artwork. Props that would’ve been otherwise considered irrelevant can be used to compliment or detail a photograph.
As you start experimenting with staged set-ups, these details will give you different ways to look at things that would’ve seemed insignificant before. As a result, it changes the way you see things.
I could help people with my collection of snaps
I’ve always been spontaneous with my camera whenever I was in a social event, waiting until I had the most candid moments to click and capture. That way I got to capture real emotions and reactions of my friends and family members. Later on, whenever someone would be upset, I would send them a happy moment that I had captured, and it would instantly change their mood. Believe it or not, photographs have that effect.
A photograph can be a powerful tool to raise awareness, remind people of good times and bad, destroy someone’s career, or do exactly the opposite. But for now, we are not getting into the ethical side of it, since it’s something we determine ourselves with time and experience.
Being a photographer has made me influential
A photograph tells many tales, as I like to say. Images have always been able to reach out to people because of their comprehensibility and self-explanatory features. Through my photographs, I have been able to inspire people to travel, learn about a particular topic, respond to crisis-related photographs, and take photographs themselves.
In 12 months, I was able to develop a following on my Facebook page, started giving Facebook “live” courses, and hosted online “Giveaways” to interact with the community.
A photographer is a story-teller in many ways. You don’t need a high-end camera to take up photography as a hobby. You can always start with your phone and move your way up as you develop a taste for it, and it can be an everyday activity. Start by taking photographs of everything you love, and in the process, become more interactive and explore your creative side.