Mindfulness can be developed through photography. It starts with seeing clearly and spreads through compositional choices, towards an encouragement to align your eye, your mind, your hand, and your heart whilst you’re completely in the present.
It’s the bringing one’s attention to experiences happening in the present moment without judgment through the practice of meditation and other techniques.
Photography as a form of meditation
Your brain actually can’t do several things at once, which is why focusing on your breath in meditation has such a deep effect and is the core principle of that practice.
The same thing applies to photography. If you’ve shifted your brain’s focus to the steps necessary to take a photo, at that moment your brain isn’t involved in all the thoughts that preceded it.
Photography can be a meditation practice. Seeing mindfully is an investment of all of the senses. It’s how you create unique, beautiful, and meaningful images. It’s also beneficial for mental health.
Photography isn’t a camera
Photography isn’t about clicking but it’s about seeing. In other words, looking at the same situation, but seeing something different. Click ONLY when your heart says so. When we see, we understand more, we love and our perspective widens.
Benefits of mindfulness photography to your mental health
- It motivates us to get outside: When we feel depressed, it’s easy to stay in bed all day and ignore the outside world. The depressed mind assumes that the world is a creepy place, lacking beauty or meaning. Mindfulness gives you the motivation to challenge those assumptions.
- It helps us get into a flow state: In the flow state, there’s no ego or judgment. There’s no obsession with negative thoughts or a need to be somewhere else. It’s a state of total involvement in any activity that brings you joy.
- It helps us communicate your perspective to the world: While most good photographs tell a story, it doesn’t have to be a joyful story. Photography helps us gain insight into our feelings. Each is a useful form of communication that results in meaningful work and each, and it relieves anxiety and depression to a great extent.
- It helps us cultivate gratitude: The benefits of incorporating gratitude as regular practice are well documented. Gratitude reinforces mental health by increasing levels of happiness, optimism, and pleasure. It also increases physical well-being by creating better habits. Mindfulness is an effective way to cultivate gratitude since we can’t be grateful for things that we don’t notice.
- It gives us a purpose: Our purpose is something that we must endeavor for every day, and we need a healthy dose of self-awareness to figure out exactly what that is. We also need to mindfully live in the present moment. The purpose isn’t a goal to be attained and checked off a list. It’s a way of being.
3 steps to develop mindfulness with photography
- Walk: Start with a mindful walking practice that can help you bring more awareness into your movement and connects you to the present moment.
- Notice: As you walk mindfully, you’ll develop a greater awareness of the things around you. While you will still see all the usual forms, you’ll start noticing many new objects in your attentional field.
- Capture: When you see things that interest you, stop, and capture the moment. Whether that’s through the viewfinder on your DSLR or your camera on your smartphone.
Crash course on photography
Online photography courses are a good way to enhance your photography skills. Although there’re numerous options available on the internet, I’ve prepared a basic document to help you get started.
Photography isn’t just a means of calming a restless mind. It has far more deep and wide-reaching benefits.
Mindfulness and self-awareness can help find our place in the world. We become satisfied that we’re intentional and purposeful individuals with something to contribute.