World Photography Day and Mindfulness

19 August 2020

Today is World Photography Day – an annual celebration of the art of photography. We’re highlighting it this year because we know that creative activities have so many benefits for our mental health!

That’s right, photography can be a form of mindfulness and mindfulness improves your wellbeing.

How’s That?

When we take photos, we focus the mind on the scene in front of us which forces our brain to be present in the moment. And when we take a photo, it’s often because of the emotion the scene evokes for us and how the situation makes us feel – perhaps that’s the joy of being with friends, or the moodiness of a stormy sky.

It’s this being present and awareness of our feelings that makes photography mindful. Creative hobbies like photography are also great for boosting our mood and lowering our stress levels. Altogether it’s a really great activity for our mental health.

Mindfulness can seem like a vague concept so we created a page of ideas and resources to help you find out more.

Why Do You Love Photography?  

There are many keen photographers across the Guideposts community so we asked them about their love for taking photos.

 “I love the process of having a vision in my mind and working out how to achieve the desired outcome,” explained Richard, who works at Henry Smith House in Hertfordshire. “It involves looking at and being inspired by the work of other photographers. It’s a never ending subject. There are many different genres, styles and techniques. There’s always something new to learn!”  

Richard’s Photography

Paul, who volunteers with the team in Oxfordshire, particularly loves macro photography. He said, “Photographing small objects to make them look larger in the images (macro photography), makes you really appreciate things that you would normally miss with wider angle shots.” For Paul photography brings you back to “living in the moment and capturing the beauty of nature.”

Engaging in the creative process helps to take my mind off negative things

Richard agrees that taking photos can make you more present. “Engaging in the creative process helps to take my mind off negative things,” He said. “It also encourages me to visit nature which can become a whole different world. I like to be in places unspoilt by humans – a place where the stresses of everyday life feel less significant.”

What About Beginners?

Sometimes starting something new can be daunting especially if equipment is needed. So we asked Richard and Paul if they had any tips for beginners who want to give photography a go. 

“You don’t need to spend a lot of money to start taking photos,” said Paul. “You could start taking images with your mobile phone and then progress on to a camera. There’s lots of free learning resources online and I found YouTube and Canon’s website really useful.”

Richard agrees, “YouTube is full of great photographers sharing their experience, providing tutorials and inspiration. And there is a lot of free software available for phones and computers.”

Practice Makes Perfect

But as with starting anything new you need to dedicate time to learning and experimenting. “It will take time to learn how your camera works and what the best settings are for certain types of photography,” explains Paul. Most importantly, practice makes perfect.”

Paul’s Photography

“Learn how to use your camera, learn how to control aperture, shutter speed, ISO and focussing,” Richard said. “Learn how to edit your images. Learn about light and how it can make a huge difference to the same scene. Learn all you can about photography.

“Try different things, try unusual angles, try to be different. Go out with your camera and have fun!”

See Our Photos

We love taking photos of the Guideposts community and capturing the joy of friendships, community activities and each little win. Follow us on Instagram to see more of brilliant community photos.