Five Practical Reasons Why Photography is a Useful and Special Hobby

When it comes to making a case for learning and developing photography as a hobby, the usual answers lie in the realm of esoteric philosophical answers like – it helps you to see and understand the beauty of the world, it helps you respect nature and beauty, and so on.

While that is true, photography also contains within itself more pragmatic reasons that can have a life-changing impact if you were to pursue it seriously and sincerely.

Let’s have a look at five such reasons:

1. It makes you socially independent 

A photographer has the license to roam alone. No moment is ever boring once you’re hell-bent on executing a shot that has been on your mind for quite some time. Whether that endeavor requires you to travel to a different part of the town or a different city or even a different country, you’re always game.

The whole act of planning a shot, scouting the location, making sure you’ve got the correct gear, reaching the location at the correct time, having the patience to wait for the right moment, dialing in the correct settings, using the required filters, pressing the shutter button and finally sitting in front of the laptop to edit the shot is a process that can absorb your mind so much that you feel absolutely content in doing all this by yourself. It’s almost like you’re on a mission that needs some serious amount of work to pull through.

This is not to say that you should always ditch your friends or family. But it’s just a great and empowering feeling to know that you can have fun even without having other people around you.

2. It’s a great way to earn an income

While most people are aware of the usual ways to earn money from photography like providing event or portrait or food or product photography services, photography also offers some other opportunities to make some money on the side. Here are some alternative ways to earn from photography:

  • Selling your images on stock websites
  • Providing editing services on freelancing websites
  • Teaching photography to beginners
  • Writing a recipe book that contains your shots (for food photographers)
  • Becoming an affiliate (commission based seller) with photography related websites and helping them sell their products and services.
  • Starting a photography related online business (like an e-commerce business that sells photography related t-shirts and accessories)
  • Creating and selling photography website themes and plugins
  • Creating photography information based websites like review websites, equipment comparison websites, photography news websites, etc.

With almost everything turning digital these days, all these opportunities are easier to implement than ever before. Decide what avenue you would like to pursue, learn about it and give it a shot. The best part is that most of these options can be tried and tested with ease by just dedicating a few hours in a week.

If it works, not only will it make you money, but it can also make you a more passionate photographer since you’ll feel more rewarded for pursuing photography as a hobby.

3. It’s intellectually stimulating and challenging

Once you start to go deeper into photography, you’ll start to realize that all is not as simple as it looks. There are lot of complicated equipment, accessories and calculations behind some of the very good shots.

Want to use an ND filter to get that blurred look on the water and the clouds? Be ready to do some heavy research on which filter to buy for your lens and how to use different apps to get the correct exposure when using it.

Want to use a flash in an environment where the lights are of a different color temperature? Be ready to get your hands on color gels, know the color temperatures of different types of light to be able to use the correct gel and finally using the right output from the flash to negate any loss of light from using the gel to get the correct shot.

Want to capture the milky way? We’ll just leave that discussion to this article.

Want to do studio photography? Get ready to do some of the most painful research possible in just obtaining the correct equipment itself (unless you come to our studio workshop of course :p). And then be ready to understand geeky and scary sounding principles like the inverse square law of light (our workshop’s got you covered again :p).

Want to edit shots that look great? Be ready to dive into one of the most complex software ever made, Adobe Photoshop. We’ve got some fantastic photography online courses for that.

This all is not to scare you. In fact it’s to get you excited. Because what fun is a hobby if it doesn’t challenge your brain? Achieving a shot after some meticulous planning (and expenditure) is a feeling so satisfying to the soul that it can leave you buzzing for days. Photography allows for that feeling quite frequently.

4. It allows you to meet like-minded people very easily

Photography has to be one of the finest ways to get in touch with like-minded people and build a network a friends. Almost every city has multiple photography workshops or meetups happening at regular intervals. Join one of those and you’re bound to come away with a friend or two.

It’s also fairly easy to find and join a local Facebook or meetup group and become a part of a community that goes for photography trips or outings on a regular basis.

And of course, owing to the outward and apparent nature of photography (courtesy the large equipment items like the tripod), you will often get approached by people into or looking to learn photography and that often involves a quick exchange of numbers ultimately paving the way for a great m̶a̶r̶r̶i̶a̶g̶e̶  friendship.

5. It makes you more organised and disciplined

Once you start taking your photography assignments seriously, you’ll find out that planning a shoot properly is as important as executing one. And one of the key aspect in planning is to make sure you’ve got all the equipment set up to its full potency. That is often not as easy as it sounds.

It can often mean maintaining a checklist of small and intricate items that are as essential as the bigger ones.

I remember doing a shoot a few years back where everything went south because of one small error on my part – not carrying the AAA batteries for one of the receivers for a flash. No battery meant the flash did not fire off-camera in an outdoor environment and because the flash could not fire, we could not get a good balance of ambient and flash exposure for the shot. I must have had more than 20 pieces of equipment and accessories with me but this microscopic tool ended up nullifying everything else. Why didn’t you just buy a new pair of batteries from a shop? you might ask. Because we wanted to take a golden hours portrait and anyone who’s been involved in golden hours shooting can vouch for the fleeting moment of time it lasts for. A fifteen minute delay can often mean a no show. It all comes down to planning again.

Good photographers are always great planners. For instance, many of the top landscape photographers in the world, through the use of technology and extensive research, will know when exactly when a particular phenomenon (like the milky way appearing over a monument at a particular direction) will happen weeks and even months in advance.

And when it comes to an example of how photography inculcates discipline into you, look no further than that of Alan McFadyen, a Scottish photographer who took 7,20,000 shots for a time span of 6 years to finally achieve this breathtaking shot a Kingfisher diving into water:

So now that you know how therapeutic photography can be for your overall well-being, get out there and start clicking again with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

About the Author

portrait photographer for portfolio shoot in pune

Hi there, I'm Kush Sharma, the founder of Creative Pad Media, an organization dedicated to simplifying photography and videography education.

We have over 40 online courses that cover various genres in photography & videography, catering to both beginners as well as professionals. These courses are available via Udemy.com. Our courses have been downloaded in over 170 countries.

I hope to see you inside a course very soon!

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