As any artist knows, self-care is essential to maintaining your creative practice.
And while there are many different ways to take care of yourself, one great self-care tool that is often overlooked is photography. The simple act of creating images can help to clear your mind and refuel your creative energy.
All you need is a camera and a willingness to experiment.
If you can get your hands on a DSLR camera that provides a fantastic outlet; however, turning your phone on airplane mode (or at least notifications turned off) and using its high-powered camera is a great place to start.
A photography practice can look like many things, and it often draws me out into nature to explore new places or look at the familiar with fresh eyes.
I find that going for photography walks invites me to slow down my speed and truly be present to my current surroundings. In this way, it helps me relax into the moment and allows stress and tension to slip away as I get lost in noticing the little details and scenic landscapes that could be a photographic story worth capturing.
Here are some of my tips for using photography as a creative self-care outlet.
1: Experiment with your camera.
Try different settings and experiment with different angles and compositions. Framing your shots is key to taking great photos with any camera, whether it’s a smartphone, DSLR, or point-and-shoot. Getting to different angles can also help add interest and variety to your photos.
2: Pay attention to light.
In addition to framing and angles, another key element to photography is the light source. Whether shooting indoors or outdoors, finding a spot with good lighting will help make your photos look more professional.
3: Think about storytelling.
What’s the story you want to tell with your image or series of photographs? It could relate to the season, the location, capturing an array of colors, artistic and abstract patterns, or anything you feel drawn to tell. Capturing that story in a photo is what makes a great photo truly special.
4: Take lots of photos.
The more photos you take, the more likely you are to capture a fantastic shot. Sometimes it is the unexpected ones that turn out to be favorites.
5: Use editing software.
Editing software can help you improve your photos and make them look their best. I consider editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Express (app) as my digital darkroom. It’s here where you can go back and change exposure and turn your photo into a stylized piece of art.
6: Have fun!
Photography should be enjoyable so make sure to experiment and try new things. Keep your mind open to possibilities and your eyes alert to your surroundings.
As you play with photography in this way, I encourage you to think of the purpose of the photographs as well.
Do you want to:
- Create a themed collection?
- Print photographs to send to a friend?
- Create a photo book?
- Write a blog post?
- Simply capture memories as you explore your garden, neighborhood, or local park?
Often, our photographs are simply left on our digital devices, and it can be incredibly rewarding to finish a photo excursion by creating something with the photographic art you created.
So next time you’re feeling the need for a pick-me-up, consider picking up a camera and letting your inner artist run wild. You might just be surprised at the results.