10 Benefits of Photography to Mental Health

happy family in the kitchen

During this pandemic, a lot of people are stressed. We all wish things could be different, and I have to admit, sitting at home at times, makes you uncertain of your future. But, there is one thing that can really help our mental condition during these trying times and that is: PHOTOGRAPHY !

I found this wonderful article from Picture/Correct, and it was authored by: Jenn Pereiria that was really good to read. And I really think we all need to share this to help everyone’s state of mind:

With the ongoing pandemic, communities are facing plenty of life-altering effects. While the immediate concerns are the physical effects of the virus and its complications, it also cannot be denied that there is a rapid increase of psychological distress occurring worldwide. Panic leads to the worst behavior and the most common mental health consequences arising from the outbreak include stress, anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and depression.

mental health photo hobby

Through the years, thousands of studies have been made about different methods to care for persons who are suffering from different mental-health problems. Because of the current lockdown and imposed quarantine protocols, it is difficult for many individuals to have access to mental health practitioners and treatment options. So how does one cope with such a scenario?

The use of visual art has long been understood to have positive effects on both physical and psychological health. Photography is a form of self-expression that can contribute to a person’s ability to maintain or reconstruct a positive identity.

To further give you an idea about how photography can significantly benefit those who are facing mental health struggle especially during the pandemic, we have identified these benefits of photography in improving both physical and mental health:

1. Photography improves self-care habits

Dr. Liz Brewster of Lancaster University and Dr. Andrew Cox from the University of Sheffield made a study that revealed how taking pictures daily and sharing them with others can actually improve self-care. Doing something new develops into a new habit. The process is therapeutic and makes a person feel refreshed. It also keeps the brain busy by making it think for creative photos to take every day.

self care photography tips
Photo by Emma Simpson

2. Photography encourages community interaction

Making valuable connections significantly improves a person’s well-being. Taking pictures and sharing them to a community, like a social media group, can help you meet new people with the same interests. Photography becomes a common ground that can spark conversations, make connections and eventually find support to fight loneliness.

3. Photography can help you remember the joys of life

Photographs capture unique moments. The pictures that you take can help bring back memories from the past and all the positive thoughts that are with it. This is mainly the reason why most people who are feeling sad or depressed usually look through old pictures. It is an effective method to somehow lift up the mood.

healthy life outlook photography
Photo by Fredrico Respini

4. Photography provides a beautiful vision of the world

Every picture tells a different story. Taking pictures lets you see a unique beauty that you will only get to appreciate as you look through your camera. It allows you to discover your environment without even meaning to. The greatest thing about it is that photos let you freeze the beauty that you see as you take new photos of the world around you.

5. Photography keeps the brain in great shape

The brain also gets old and photography is a good exercise to keep the brain healthy. According to research by Professor Denise C. Park from the University of Texas, photography is a highly cognitive activity. In her study, participants who engaged in digital photography were able to enhance and improve their episodic memory and reasoning skills.

mental health techniques yoga photo
Photo by Wee Lee

6. Photography can help the body get moving

Outdoor photography pretty much requires people to go outside and walk around. This allows the body to burn more calories, especially if you need to climb a tree, crouch down toward a subject, jog ahead or partake in any other physical activity that keeps the body in motion. And if you don’t, even just lugging camera gear around can be great bonus exercise during a long walk.

7. You get to enjoy what you love even more

It is natural for a photographer to take photos of something that interests them. It becomes an enjoyable experience to see your interests in a different perspective. It also gives you a rewarding feeling that can boost your happiness more.

8. Photos are positive mood stimulants

According to a study titled The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature, art therapy can help reduce cortisol, a hormone that can cause stress in the human body. Photography is a form of art, and taking a good picture can therefore make a person feel relaxed. Taking positive photos lets you see the world differently and will keep you motivated.

self care through photography
Photo by Thought Catalog

9. Photography improves creativity

Activating the brain through photography is possible because it does not only awaken creativity. It actually lets the brain process different thoughts and encourages the body to translate its emotions into photos. This activity also promotes curiosity and gives you the courage to try out different techniques to improve every shot.

10. Photography gives you a sense of direction

Especially with the pandemic, people are scared about the uncertainty of the coming days. Photography somehow eases you out of the daunting thoughts by making you look forward to what you will photograph next. Instead of brooding, taking photos lets you enjoy each moment, encouraging positivity and getting you excited for the next day that you will take new photos.

self-help photography tips
Photo by Dan Meyers

Additional Ideas: How to Take Photos and Be Creative During Quarantine

By picking up a camera, you instantly challenge yourself to get creative. Of course, social distancing protocols make this extra difficult. Because taking outdoor shots may be challenging for some, here are some practical tips for photographers that you can do to enjoy photography while in quarantine:

  1. Explore different methods of photo editing. For those working from home or taking online classes, you may have a bunch of time in your hands that you can use to learn about improving photos. You may enroll in online classes or explore any photo editing app that you currently have. This will allow you to revisit old photos and try to enhance them using what you have learned.
  2. Photograph food. There’s no better time to actually appreciate the chance to enjoy cooking and eating than being in quarantine. Get creative with your presentations and transform your meals into fine-art photos.
  3. Go black and white. One way to develop your photography skills is by shooting in black and white. Try it with your family or pet as the model and try to hone your skills with this technique.
  4. Take a photo scavenger hunt. This is a fun way challenge that you can do at home to help occupy your time. Make it a contest among your family and friends and create a social media group where you can upload and see each others’ shots.
  5. Get creative with a free background remover. Instead of brooding about not being able to get out, you can use a background remover to edit photos and bring the outdoors into the picture. Lighten the mood by editing yourself into travel destinations. Get a good laugh by having a virtual group picture with your friends and make it look real with a new background. There are tons of creative things you can do once you remove backgrounds from images.

Photography can help express yourself, but it has become a lot more valuable during this pandemic. It can help make a person focus on positive life experiences, reduce stressors and enhance self-worth. This is very important especially as the world has gone through too many changes in a matter of a few months since the outbreak started. It would somehow give the mind and body a sense of balance and makes it ready to face the day with positive thoughts and attitude.

About the Author:
Jenn Pereira is the product designer of Removal.AI, an AI technology used to remove background from images. This tool also comes with a free online photo editor that allows users to create diverting graphics, banners and images. She is passionate when it comes to designing and creating new ideas to help brands and small businesses realize and achieve their goals through innovative product, UI/UX design application and strategic digital marketing.

I went in to my source for “comforting” Photos and found these. Hope this helps you too:

hand of crop woman on crumpled bed sheet
Photo by medium photoclub on Pexels.com
photo of ocean waves near seashore during sunset
Photo by Kevin Menajang on Pexels.com
woman lying on bed holding book
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com
adventure baby beautiful blue eyes
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com
happy family in the kitchen
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com
pexels-photo-1148998.jpeg
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Published by 123photogo

I have been a photographer for many years. Worked in retail selling cameras and accessories for over 20 years. Taught many photo classes, and have even been a judge in several county fairs. Now, I want to share photo instructions and entertainment with all other photographers around the world.

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