There’s a reason why everyone seems to have a camera these days. It’s true that people can sometimes go a little overboard, documenting every moment for social media, but the truth remains: photography is a truly fulfilling hobby. Even if you never earn a cent from your pictures, taking up photography as a hobby can bring a lot of joy to your life. Though there are countless reasons why photography is an awesome hobby, here are our top 11 to inspire you to pick up a camera today.
1. It gets you active
If you’ve ever gone for a walk and found yourself staring down at your smartphone the whole time, you know how hard to can be to pay attention to the world around you. Having an activity to do while you’re out and about can help you be more present and aware of your surroundings. Give yourself a mission while you’re outdoors, such as taking pictures of street art or bird life. This way, getting your daily exercise won’t seem like such a chore.
2. It exercises your brain
You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy photography as a hobby. In fact, cameras are so easy to use these days that you probably won’t need any training at all. But if you want to improve your sills, there’s always more to learn. You can try tilt-shift photography, underwater photography, skyline photography, and more. Switch your camera from “auto” to “manual” mode and have fun seeing how many new tricks you can discover.
3. It’s affordable
Some hobbies require a lot of equipment, but cameras are cheaper than ever. A few decades ago, being a photographer meant having to buy your own film stock and gain access to a dark room so you could develop your own photos. These days, you already have a camera on your smartphone. If you do want to use more expensive gear or don’t want to take your DSLR with you when you travel, you can always rent gear from a fellow photographer.
4. You can document your life
It’s easy to immortalize your life through photography, whether it’s creating a scrapbook of your travels or taking a picture of yourself every day for a year. Look back through your photos to be reminded of where you’ve been throughout the year, whom you spent time with, and even what meals you cooked! Send photos to your long-distance friends and family to keep them in the loop, or post the images on social media if you want to build a personal following.
5. You can document the world around you
Photographs can change the world, and an image can go viral in an instant. Whether you’re a street photographer documenting protests in Washington, DC, or a wildlife photographer taking photographs of habitats affected by climate change, you never know when your photo will make a difference. Your images can help people see the world in a new way. Check out the Female Farmer Project or Lensational to get inspired.
6. You’ll meet new people
Photography might seem like a solo hobby, but there are plenty of opportunities to meet people. From joining photography groups on Meetup to finding models to work with on ModelMayhem, you don’t have to do everything on your own. These days, most photographers have accounts on Instagram, so if you’re looking to collaborate with other people, that’s a good place to start. Just be respectful and aware that many models will expect to be paid for their time.
7. You can do it anywhere
Taking a guitar on an airplane with you is a hassle. Painting can make a mess. But cameras are portable, and you don’t need any special talents or physical abilities. You can take photos from the passenger seat of a car or from the comfort of your own studio. You can even get a drone and take awesome aerial shots without much effort.
8. It’s instant gratification
Sure, you might do some touching up in Photoshop or throw on an Instagram filter. But for the most part, what you see is what you get. You don’t have to wait for the paint to dry or for your prints to come in the mail. If something doesn’t work, you can try again until you get it right.
9. You can earn passive income
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to make money from your work. Even if you only treat photography as a hobby, you can earn a little extra income from stock photo platforms like Shutterstock and Twenty20. Don’t expect to make lots of money unless you have a lot of photos, but you’ll be paid a small percentage every time someone licenses your work.
10. It’s safe
You might not think of hobbies as being particularly dangerous, but even taking up sports can leave you with a broken leg. Unless you’re taking selfies with polar bears, you probably won’t get hurt if you take up photography as a hobby. There are no heavy objects, sharp edges, or flammable materials to worry about, except maybe your studio lights. If you’re worried about dropping or damaging equipment, you can always get insurance.
11. You can combine it with other hobbies
Photography is ideal for people with many interests, as you can mix and match it with pretty much any other hobby out there. You can photograph trains, animals, antique cars, stars, people, food, architecture – the list is endless. If you’re interested in astronomy, learn to take photos of the moon. If you like to scuba dive, you can practice underwater photography.
Best of all, you can use the same camera for most of these hobbies. Just switch lenses and you can move from one type of photography to another. Photography is a great complement to other crafts as well, such as writing or music. You can use your photography to illustrate your memoir or design your own album cover. It’s a great stepping stone to videography, too.
We hope you’ll agree that taking up photography as a hobby is an exciting choice. With a low barrier to entry and so many ways to get started, there’s no reason not to give it a try. Pick up your smartphone — or grab an old Nikon — and start taking your own photographs today.