Picture this: it’s a sparkling winter’s day. You need a break at lunchtime or maybe at sunset, so you put on your photographer’s hat and step outside. What kind of images fascinate you? It could be neighbourhood signage, your baby in the stroller, the sky seen through patterns of leaves or people at bus stops.
Whether you’re taking photos, editing and archiving them, sharing them with a friend or selecting images to print, there are many ways photography can improve your wellbeing. As art is not the aim (although it may happen!), a simple camera will do – even the one on your phone, which you’re likely to have to hand at all times. So, here are 5 ways you can reap the rewards of photography.
1. Realise your dream
Are you renovating, planning a garden makeover, starting a new business or revamping your wardrobe? Gathering images of how you want this project to look can make it happen more easily, as you’re programming your brain to make the decisions necessary to achieve it. And it’s exciting to be able to visualise your dream. You can upload your pictures to a computer and use Pinterest to pin them up along with other images you find online, arrange them as a slideshow and edit them as the project progresses, or print them and create an inspiration board to help drive it to completion.
2. Relieve stress
Taking up photography can be just as reviving as meditation. The benefit lies in becoming absorbed in the activity, seeking out and observing elements of your surroundings (think trees, traffic or trends in street fashion) through the camera lens. This kind of mindfulness – the actual quest for the picture, concentrating on framing it so you only include the elements you want – calms your adrenaline response. The creative process allows you to lose yourself in the moment and recover, mentally and physically, from everyday pressures. Try it – even 15 minutes or half an hour at a time will refresh you.
3. Make connections
Photos can be a great tool for building confidence in a child, sharing moments and memories with friends or communicating with elderly relatives. There are many online options for you to use photos from your collection to print calendars, postcards or albums for the people you love. Or you could try the old-fashioned option of printing out your favourite images and arranging them yourself in an album or picture book. A simple flip book of a child’s life reinforces for them how much they are loved and how spectacular their development has been so far – and even toddlers love looking at pictures of themselves! Likewise, a photo album that displays the milestones and memories of an older person’s life can prompt illuminating reminiscences and remind them of their achievements and special moments.
4. Feel at home
No-one sees the world the way you do, and that unique vision can be used to create a welcoming effect at home. There are websites such as printablefabric.com.au and digitalfabricprint.com.au that help you transfer photos onto materials in graphic black and white or colour for cushion covers or wall-hangings.
A group of framed family prints, a collection of your favourite images, or poster-sized scenes from your holidays can quickly transform an ordinary space into your own personal display. Using photography in this way can make a rented property feel instantly like home, adding to your sense of stability and continuity in life.
5. Raise your spirits
An uplifting pictorial diary of your own can help you bounce back from difficult times or overcome a mood trough. When you’re feeling down, it’s often hard to generate a memory of a pleasant experience, but a photo journal of positive events is evidence that you have been happy. The proof on paper also holds clues to how you can feel good about life again. You can use photography to gather images of things you love or that make you smile. This gives you the double whammy of actually finding these joyful images and having a stockpile of mood boosters