Why Do Photography?

If you’re considering getting into photography, this article is intended to inspire & encourage you to get started by listing all the wonderful things that you can get out of photography, as described by numerous different amateur and professional photographers. 🙂

To put this together I manually reached out to many different photographers, as well as put out this query on some of the journalist sites I’m a member of:

We’re publishing a piece intended to encourage people to get into photography for the first time, and would like to hear from both amateur and professional photographers on why you love photography. Personal stories welcome, the more detail the better.

I got some fantastic responses to this, and have listed the best ones below. To summarize, the main points on the joy of photography would be the following:

  • Capture memories for eternity that you may otherwise forget
  • Bring happiness to others by being able to share places you’ve been, people and feelings
  • The joy of getting the perfect shot
  • Can make you more adventurous, and go to places that you wouldn’t otherwise go
  • Meeting new people from photography
  • A creative outlet and a form of self-expression
  • The potential to earn a living from photography, if you get good enough and take it seriously enough
  • A form of meditation
  • A self-esteem booster
  • Inspires your imagination

I will continue adding to this piece as more submissions come in, and I hear back from more photographers. Have a read through the submissions we’ve got so far below. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

I love photography because it is immediate, it is versatile and I believe there is no better art form for capturing the depth of the modern human condition. Everyone has access to it and there is a whole generation who learnt to express themselves through it online. It is a means for personal expression and introspection captured through a uniquely contemporary tool.

--Ellen Stone, Public Offerings

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As a hobbyist photographer, I enjoy photography because it makes me understand people better, getting to know more people. It makes me more social and more sensitive. I can feel the sadness or anger people hide behind smiles because a picture can tell a lot of things. Photography also makes me creative and productive to practice patience and focus. I believe it has an impact on emotions, values, beliefs and sometimes even faith. Photography allows you to capture the beauty inside of a person that not everyone can find, capture, or cause its revelation.

--William Taylor, VelvetJobs

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I've started photography last year as a hobby, and I must say the biggest joy I gained from it is the ability to remember the moments.

I'm an amateur photographer. Interestingly, what pushed me into photography is actually a movie quote. It said something like "Take lots of pictures. You'll regret the ones you didn't take." And that quote hit me so hard. I thought about how I'm getting older and my kids are getting older, and the city we live in is getting older, and I really don't remember much of it. So it was candid photos of people and landscapes for me.

And with that, I realize the reason I love photography is because I can freeze the fleeting moments of life. Once something is in the past, we can't take it back. The places we visit won't look the same twice, and the people we meet won't be the same person tomorrow. And I believe that's the real essence of photography for me -- to capture a moment as it is, and look back on it and remember how we felt during that time and maybe what the world looked like. So, that's why I love photography.

--Willie Greer, The Product Analyst

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Photography is a natural self-esteem booster. This normally happens when you take good photos and people love it very much. Their positive feedbacks naturally make you feel good and better.

Photography inspires your imagination. They say that a picture speaks more than 1000 words. This actually should tell you that the more pictures you take the more knowledgeable you become and the more you increase your imagination capabilities.

Photography enables you to document your life. Taking pictures at different stages of life will make you remember easily how your life journey has been. In this case you can also take pictures of the details important to you.

Pictures taken from past memorable experiences rejuvenate your happiness and wonderful experiences.

Not to mention photography will help you remember places and adventures you have taken.

Photography is a career, there are many companies willing to buy beautiful pictures taken by you. This will only depend on which kind of pictures they want.

--Richard Jackson, World Weather Online

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The reason I love photography is because it is one of the few things that takes me away from the world and allows me to enjoy the moment in its purest form. It allows me to share the beauty that I see in everyday life with those around me, that otherwise would not be possible.

--Shailpik Biswas, @shailpik on Instagram

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My name is Elizabeth and I am an amateur photographer. Since I can remember, I've been into taking photos of anything and everything. Even when I was little, I'd use my parent's disposable camera and waste all the film on photos of my stuffed animals. I still have an albums full of those pictures!

Throughout my teens, I took pictures on smart phones or cheap digital cameras. I'd print them out and stick them all over my bedroom walls; photos from holidays, school trips, walks around my garden, family, friends, concerts- everything. I like capturing the moment in a still, it can be so powerful and evoke may emotions.

Only recently have I been pursuing photography more seriously. Last year, I signed up to an online magazine to photograph concerts and gigs as press. I also started reaching out to small artists and offering them a few portrait shots for their social media or album artwork.

People often think that being a good photographer means you need expensive equipment, but I only decided to buy a proper camera 5 years ago when I wanted to upgrade from my iPhone 5. Of course having a good lens makes a difference, but learning the skills on something more accessible like a compact camera or a smartphone is so easy nowadays and helps new photographers grown their confidence.

I feel like photography has really taught me how to stretch myself out of my comfort zone and I really enjoy every moment of it.

--Elizabeth Motley, @throughelizabethscamera on Instagram

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I love photography because it guides you to a different view of something. It encourages you to look at things a different way, from a different angle. You are no longer “just” looking at a flower. You are looking at its best side, how the light hits the petals, waiting for that bee to land for the perfect shot.

Photography is like meditation. Meditation without effort. While you’re waiting for that bee, for that slight breeze to lift a leaf just-so...time stops and there is only “now”. You aren’t thinking of your problems. You aren’t stressing. There is just that flower and that bee. It’s magical.

It was the same when my kids were born. Being a mom is hard, it’s stressful, it’s demanding. But the minute I picked up the camera, the stress went away. I started to focus on the good things, the funny things, the things I’d want to remember in the future. The kids love it as well. They’d stop fighting and start pulling funny faces. They’d do a gymnastics shows. They’d hug the dog. Fight forgotten!

One thing though, get an SLR. There’s something about looking through that lens and clicking that button; a phone just can’t compare with that!

--Elle Meager, Outdoor Happens

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I’m an amateur photographer, mostly using photography as a journal of my experiences. Looking back at some of my photographs from a few years back, I often realize that I wouldn’t remember that the events happened, unless there was the proof - the photo. At the same time, I’m able to revive the same atmosphere or feeling from the time the photo was taken, which is a great way to stay in contact with yourself.

When using photography as documentation, you’re able to look from a distance on what mattered to you in a certain period. You can understand better why you still care (or don’t care anymore) about the same subjects. Also, you get to see how you and people who matter to you change over time.

What’s great about photography nowadays is that anyone can make beautiful photographs with their smartphone camera. The issue with it is that if you don’t clean up your photo archives regularly, you end up with too many of them. With some discipline and regular combing and deleting the bad photos, you can get a beautiful visual journal of your time.

--Aleksandar Hrubenja, ModernGentlemen

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I accidentally fell in to photography when I started a blog 4 years ago and realized very early on that I needed to have beautiful photos of my home (even if it was messy) and that was something that my iPhone just couldn't handle.

I invested in a starter camera, 2 great lenses, and an incredible interior photography course and I've never looked back. Because of this, I'm now able to not only take great interior photography, but it's allowed me to expand and take pictures of our family, myself for headshots (peep the one below in my email signature, ha!) and even photography for other people for their own homes or real estate agents.

I love interior photography because you can get creative with angles, bokeh and shoot special times like your house all lit up for Christmas which is so fun! It's way different than trying to shoot moving targets like children.

It can be a bit expensive to start up, but it pays for itself in the memories in no time!

--Carmen Smith, livingletterhome.com

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I grew up with my grandparents. They had shelves full of National Geographic magazines. I remember getting lost in them often. I wasn’t reading the stories, I was lost in the photography. Photography also tells a story. I remember the classic Canon ads on the back of National Geographic, and I asked for a camera every year for holidays. I finally got a SLR Rebel when I was old enough and I was hooked. I had a film allowance, and I have boxes of terribly exposed horrible photos in my childhood closet. Back then I thought they were great.

As I grew up I tried different types of photography, architecture, nature, event, etc and I couldn’t get back to recreating those stories. It wasn’t until I had my family that I realized I love lifestyle photography and telling lifestyle stories. I shoot digital now, but still a Canon. Those ads are subconsciously drilled into my brain.

I think I love photography because I love telling stories in a creative way.

--Amber Faust, faustisland.com

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I started a course in photography a few years ago and fell in love with it. Photography allows me to capture some of the precious moments in my life and the lives of other people. I particularly search for details that are not too obvious at first sight.

With photography, you can be as creative as you want and develop your artistry. Even if you don’t have professional equipment, you can still make memorable photos and work on your skill. The best thing is that you can start with it at any point on your own and see whether this will keep you interested for a longer period of time.

--Mira Rakicevic, ComfyLiving

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I have been a portrait and wedding photographer for 15 years. My main motivation for getting into photography was the happiness the final result gave me and other people. The creativity involved in framing a shot is a close second, but the happiness is what I chase and love the most.

I remember being 18 and taking photos of my friends and family with a disposable camera. When I would develop them, it gave me great joy to see their smiling faces when I laid out their photos.

Even after 15 years of taking portraits, my favorite part is when I go back to a clients' home and I see the photos we took during our last shoot on their wall. I look over and I say, Hey! I know those pictures.. And as soon as they see what I'm looking it, their faces light up with happiness.

It feels great to know that I was able to capture a beautiful moment in time, that is now part of their home and their lives.

--Jermaine Amado, J Amado Photography

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Photography is both a fulfilling hobby as well as a useful skill, especially for those of us in creative fields, both in our personal lives and in our careers. Photography is another way to express one’s self, to document things we see and feel. Whether you share those photos or not, you have them with you — a permanent reminder of something you saw or felt or needed. As a hobby, photography is incredibly versatile. You don’t need to know very much about the details of the craft in order to start out — you just need a camera of some kind (smart phone included) and the desire to try.

--Christine Csencsitz, Cats & Coffee by Christine Csencsitz

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I always loved nature and I wanted to use photography to convey not only the beauty but the mood and feel of the outdoors--the peace it brings me. Then, when I had kids, I wanted to capture the magical moments I knew I'd never get back. Finally, photography was a creative outlet, a form of self-expression.

I think this creative expression part is the part that can trip up new photographers because it gets in the way of sharing their work. Sharing feels like saying, Hey, read my diary. But, if they are brave and willing to seek out mentors who will give them honest and constructive feedback, their art can grow.

Now, I use photography as an adjunct to my public relations business. I love being able to capture the images that match my creative vision, be they business portraits or website images that align with an organization's messaging and branding. And on the personal side, during this pandemic I've been walking alone in nature, photographing the wonder of spring to regain a sense of calm and wholeness.

--Jendi Coursey, Jendi Coursey Communications

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Why give photography a try? It's a way to express yourself, find joy, create, and document history all at once. There are several types of photography and each one brings its own joys. I personally love photographing people. Why? There is a connection between you (the photographer) and the subject that only happens between you both. That connection is made before you hold up your camera. It's pretty awesome to get someone to laugh who normally hates taking photos. In fact, they are some of my favorite subjects. I love getting them to break out of their shell and to have a good time when they are convinced the experience will be horrible.

What about photographers who are not connecting with the subject? For example, someone who is documenting a story. While that type of photography isn't directly connecting with the subjects, they are seeing a story unfold before them. They are able to focus in on one aspect of a moment and tell a story through the photograph. It's your lens-- your eye that gets to share your perspective. Think about a wedding for a moment. Imagine the couple at the alter with their loved ones surrounding them. Think about all the little details that couple has spent hours imagining and creating. Everything has meaning. The flowers were the ones the couple smelled on their first anniversary. The people helped shape them. The dress was chosen with love and frienship surrounding the bride. There is so much meaning in that one moment of time. Capturing the little details help the couple remember their day as they celebrate their anniversary for decades to come. It tells the story to their future children about what and whom was important to them. It documents that moment in time: what trends were happening, the hairstyles, the clothes, the traditions. As a wedding photographer, we try to capture all of these things in detail and in the big picture. We also look for moments the couple may miss in real life. The little kid playing with his/her toys. The crying grandparent. The praying parent. The sleeping baby. The laughter of guests. The musician playing their heart out. These moments won't return. It's what made your wedding day. As the photographer, you have the power to help people remember that moment for generations. Why wouldn't you want to pick up a camera?

--Sandy Murray, Four 12 Photography LLC

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I was in Israel this summer, and I did not have my camera. For that reason, I could not commemorate some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. I could not take photos of the people around me. I could not take my own photographs, narrate my own story. Instead, I was at the mercy of the people around me, and how they chose to tell the story of what happened. The boy I fell in love with took photos of me, but I have none of him.

The importance of holding a camera is, to me, the importance of defining my own point of view. What do I believe is important? When I encounter a new place, what do I feel connected to? What do I feel is worth remembering?

I am still in love with that boy, but I am so sad that I have no photographs of him. I am so sad that there is a photograph sitting on his desktop somewhere, a photo he took of my face on the night we sang a duet together in the middle of the desert. When he lifted his camera to take that photo, I tried to take that moment to show him exactly what I felt for him, and allow it to be reflected in my face.

I have no photos of his face.

Now, I take my camera with me, everywhere I go. Because you never know when you are going to see something so beautiful that you will want to remember it for the rest of your life. You never know when you are going to meet the love of your life. And when you do, you will want to remember him.

--Ariadne Wolf, ariadnewolf.com

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I have been shooting professionally for over 10yrs. The photography bug first bit me when I was eight years old and my grandmother gave me a 110-film camera, Things took off from there. I started playing around with my dad's Minolta SLR. To me a photograph just isn't a picture but represents a single moment in time where everything comes together beautifully. I loved how the world around me disappeared when I looked through the viewfinder and it was just me and the scene or moment in front of me.

While I loved photography I never actually thought of it as a career. That actually happened completely by accident. I had just lost my job at the time and got a call to shoot a large celebrity studded event. After that I just kept taking gigs as they came and realized I had a career.

I love all the people I get to meet and the incredible experiences I get to have. One of my favorite weekends of my career I ended up photographing an all women’s naturalization on a Friday. It was an incredible and emotional experience to watch all these women become US citizens. The next day on Saturday I got to photograph a women’s power lunch then from there I ended the day photographing a concert for electronic dance group Red Foo and The Party Rock Crew who were formally known as LMFAO. That Sunday morning I photographed a baptism with the cutest baby.

"I live in a crazy beautiful world that most people fail to see. Light, texture and the raw grittiness of it all sing to me and inspire me. Telling stories through imagery is what drives me. I would go crazy without a way to express myself to the world visually." - Jonathan

--Jonathan Ridgely, Jonathan R Photography

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Photography is an outlet for me, but not in the 'creative' way that most people think. It really is a science behind the composition of a photograph, the use of an analogue camera, capturing images within a photo that others don't see and forcing them to see it.

What I do find is that I do not appreciate my photos as much as another, and see so much beauty in snapshots that others have taken.


--Andrew Taylor, Net Lawman

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Photography is an outlet for me, but not in the 'creative' way that most people think. It really is a science behind the composition of a photograph, the use of an analogue camera, capturing images within a photo that others don't see and forcing them to see it.

What I do find is that I do not appreciate my photos as much as another, and see so much beauty in snapshots that others havI have been a travel, wildlife, and landscape photographer for over 10 years. I first fell in love with photography when I studied abroad in Spain; capturing every moment helped me share the experience with my family from across the globe. A great photo allows me the opportunity to relive the best moments of my life over and over again.

More than 10 years later, I still regularly look at photos from my travels and realize there are so many little moments I forget about. But, frozen in time are the photos that never let me forget any of the best moments in my life.

--Delaney Van, Aperture Adventure

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I have been into photography for my entire life, literally since I was a child. I had an uncle who used to take photos as an amateur and I became interested in photography because go him.

When I was about 9 - 10 years old. I received an old Kodak 110 camera form my mother who wanted to encourage my interest.

I used to build Estes model rockets that launch into the air. I’d use my old camera to practice my timing. Sometimes I’d miss the rocket launching and just get a stream of smoke from the little launch. Other times, I’d get it right and catch a tiny flame shooting out of the rocket while it was still on the launch pad. Oddly enough, this made a difference in improving my skills.

As I practiced more, I noticed that I had a knack for “seeing” light and shadow and lines and shapes. It’s hard to explain, but I learned early on that I can “see” images in my head. They way light hits something or is framed. I can see the image in my mind before I snap the shutter.

Because I was taking decent images with my old 110 film cartridge camera, I had an aunt who also sought to encourage my hobby so she game me her old Nikon FM from 1977 so I could up my photo game.

It absolutely did. I grew up in New York City, and I used to walk around with my camera all the time. Now, of course, we all have decent cameras in our smart phones stuck in our pockets. Back then, walking around with a camera was a unique thing to do.

I took thousands of images and was able to capture a unique time in the cities history. I decided in high school that I wanted to do this (or something related) for a living, if I could. I took every opportunity I could to practice. I joined my high school yearbook committee and shot an overwhelming majority of the images all four years of HS.

When I went to college, I took photography classes although by that time, I had decided to study television and film production because these are related careers. I have worked in this line of work (both photography and video production for my entire adult life. I approach my video production the same way I do photography. I look through my camera lens and I try to shoot in a cinematic style as if I was shooting photos.

My education and talent have enabled me to create thousands of projects over the years and make a career out of it. I would encourage anyone who wants to take this up to just start. You have a camera and a video camera in your pocket right now so use it. You can learn online all you need to know to get started. Photography is a fun and easy hobby and you will never regret reliving the memories you capture.

--Jim Costa, jimcostafilms on YouTube

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I am a photographer and photography tour guide/teacher from the UK currently living and working in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Here are the reasons I love photography:

*1) Photography builds confidence*

I would've never described myself as a confident person, approaching strangers in the street would've terrified me a few years ago. But, ever since I became a photographer I found I have the perfect excuse to wander the streets and introduce myself to complete strangers. Whenever I see interesting individuals I stop them and speak to them, take their pictures and have amazing interactions. When I have my camera in my hand it's like I am a different person. And after a while, this new-found confidence spills into your regular life.

*2) Photography turns everything into an opportunity to be creative*

Walking to work or strolling to the shops is often a fairly mundane task, however, if you are a photographer every trip outside the house is an opportunity to be creative. When you are hunting for photos every little detail becomes interesting. Every change in light becomes a potential image. What used to be a boring task is transformed into something fulfilling.

*3) Photography makes you more adventurous*

I teach travel and street photography, which means I go to a lot of wonderful and exotic places around the world. What I've learnt is having a camera in your hand is the perfect excuse to go places you would never dream of going otherwise. If I was just on a regular holiday I wouldn't think of going to shipyards or building sites, and I especially wouldn't get up a 4 am to go to a fish market and get fish guts on my shoes. But, as a photographer, this is what I live for. Being on the hunt for the best light and most interesting scenes turns you into an adventurer and when you go to unexpected placed you meet unexpected people.

--Andy Barker, andywithacamera.com

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My love of photography is quite recent and ties in with my also recent discovery that I have Aphantasia. That means I can’t voluntarily visualise things. If you asked me to picture an apple, for example, I couldn’t, even though I know what an apple looks like. As someone whose passion in life is travel, that makes remembering places I’ve been quite difficult as I can’t visualise them. Photography allows me to capture the memories of my travels and help me remember them forever, as well as letting me see the amazing places again. I am by no means a professional - I in fact inherited an old camera from my father in law - but the more I learn the better I get at capturing and immortalising my travel memories.

--Dan Steeden, Horo Travel Memories

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Photography is an art all unto itself. In my line of work, I get photographers from all around the world come out with me. Some haven't even turned on a camera yet, some are seasoned photographers who know how to use all sorts of lenses and filters. The one thing they all have in common is that shriek when they realise they have taken an awesome photo! It fills you with joy, like a child and the pride I get to see on their faces just makes my day. It's such a rewarding hobby, i love it!

--Shaun Taylor, Moriti Safaris

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I first got into photography in high school. I loved the idea of watching what was once a simple idea and developing it into a beautiful photo right before my eyes. It's more than just the equipment you use or how you edit your pictures, there’s a certain magic to photography that allows you to view the world not just as it is, but as you are. You’re not just capturing a moment in time and space that you’ll get to look back on fondly, you’re also capturing a part of your history. You're capturing who you are in that moment. It’s quite beautiful. And there’s no better time to learn a new skill than now, all you need is a camera and your imagination.

--Sama Abdi, TourRadar

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Growing up in Rochester, NY, Eastman Kodak was the dominant leader in the photography world. My family worked at Kodak in everything from camera repair of Retinas to the change over to digital photography. At the age of 5, my father took classes working on lighting adjustment with Kodak film and a Kodak 35mm camera. One session, he created a board with several pictures of me looking out a window with my stuff animal, and at 94 years old, he can still talk about these classes and lessons he learned.

Kodak's tagline, Point and Shoot and We Will Do the Rest, indeed, described my first experiences with taking pictures. As a girl scout, I worked for my photography badge and in high school, I was part of the yearbook committee. I used a simple point and shoot camera with film. Taking pictures was the way of documenting my life, but there wasn't that professional level to my snapshots.

The years ahead were filled with photos of my kids and their activities using a film camera, and not every picture was worth a 1000 words as with film, it was a little hit and miss at times. The digital camera age was around the corner, which was a new pivot to my photography. In 2015, my son decided in his junior year that he wanted to play soccer. I quickly volunteered to be the lead photographer and soon realized the challenges that I needed to overcome. Low lighting, lack of focus on the moving subject and ability to capture the close-ups that gave the detail of the accomplishment of being in control of the ball. I had to learn as much about the skill of sports photography as I could and turned to YouTube videos, Creative Live classes online and trial and error in my backyard. I was looking for the best camera and the best lens and ended up renting both the Canon Mark 7 D II and a 70-200 f 2.8 Lens.

It was this point a casual hobby turned into a passion for photography. I spent seasons beyond my son's high school career do photography for the teams. I branched past sports to many different types of photography. To keep learning different methods and develop creative ideas, I have been part of a Facebook photography challenge group that present weekly challenges. I currently have my own a variety of lenses and purchased a Canon Mark 7d II. My work now includes everything from capturing images for marketing, including some highlights like working with school systems, food and beverage photography and non-profits organizations.

Lindsay Adler, a leading fashion photographer, once shared some advice to take as many pictures as you can. I would encourage you to follow her advice. In today's digital world of photography, every shot is a way to learn and improve your knowledge about how to capture your best shot.

There are a variety of resources to learn about the essential roles of things like angles and positioning, ISO, depth of field, focus point, the best camera and lens to address your goals. Digital Photography offers the perfect chance to pick up a camera for the first time and start to create images. The ability to see your photos seconds after taking them to allow for you to adjust and create the imagines you can be proud to have to document a moment in time, whether it is for you or someone else. One article that I recently read mentioned over 50 different types of photography, including landscape, fashion, weddings, wildlife, street photography, just to mention a few. Whatever you are interested in, there is a photography path you can get started on, and it's a beginner playground with all the tools and resources in our world today.

--Elaine M Pardi, elainepardi.com

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I love photography because it captures memories for eternity that I might otherwise forget. When I look at photos I took while traveling it brings back happy memories and tidbits of information that I might otherwise forget.

Photos don’t just capture places, but people and feelings. Happy smiles, tears, accomplishments, and other touching moments captured with a camera are priceless.

My family always makes fun of me taking pictures all the time. But when my father passed, they were all happy to have those precious pictures of us together and with him.

I have access to quality cameras, but usually, use my phone camera since it is always with me. I photograph everything from food to flowers, National Parks, to beaches, pets to people.

The great thing about photography now is that with digital, you can take as many pictures as you want at no extra cost. It is easy to delete those you don’t desire to keep and storing lots of digital photos is relatively inexpensive. So it isn’t necessarily an expensive hobby to enjoy.

--Robin O'Neal Smith, RobinONealSmith.com

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I love photography so much, and there are multiple reasons for this. It looks like that every time I click a picture of anyone or anything, I capture and freeze the moment for eternity. This thing gives me a unique pleasure.

Photography is not something restricted to capturing beauty only. There is no denying that beauty fades with time, and photography is the best way to capture and save beauty. No matter, you are capturing the beauty of a human, an animal, or a landscape, the beauty will deteriorate with the passage of time. However, capturing and freezing the moment gives us eternal happiness.

Photography gives an opportunity to the next generations to see and enjoy history through the lens. Some people enjoy the making of history; only a few are capable of understanding and capturing it. I am glad I am out of those who do photography, loves, and enjoy it equally. Photography is something you can do best in your leisure time.

It is a powerful tool to rebuild self-esteem. It can change the perspective to see the world. You can observe the minute details of something and capture it. Photography has a great impact on the values, emotions, and sometimes on beliefs too.

--Brandon Foster, shuttertalk

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