(2019) Mindful Photography: What is it?
If you’re not familiar with mindfulness – it’s a form of everyday meditation where you remove distractions and become fully present in the moment. Call it a micro holiday for body and brain! Don’t be afraid of the term ‘meditation’, there will be no yoga poses or periods of quiet reflection here.
Mindfulness Photography is a means to practice mindfulness through the use of a camera. Photography perfectly pairs with mindfulness as both centre around the here and now and our connection with our surroundings.
Embracing a mindful approach to photography has been so important in my life. Being diagnosed with Crohn’s – an incurable life-long illness – brought many challenges, including a change of career from office work to becoming a landscape photographer. The peace it brings me is invaluable, and we all need a little break away from emails, phones and being busy, busy, busy.
Mindfulness has been around a while and in recent years has gained popularity and visibility.
Mindfulness uses calming exercises to help relax; sometimes using targeted meditation activity, such as breathing exercises. In the case of mindfulness photography we’re using a creative activity to focus all of our attention.
Studies have shown a significant increase in health, happiness and feeling of connection to nature when mindfulness is used – both immediate benefits and longer-term through regular practice. Health benefits are said to include improved management of mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression) and in some cases complete recovery.
Time outdoors in nature has also been scientifically proven to boost many areas of health; including a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease. Why not combine mindful photography with time outdoors in nature for a health double whammy!
How to practise Mindfulness Photography
I’m writing this at that time of year where seasons change and the beauty of autumn arrives, although the move towards winter isn’t always all that easy, or enjoyable! Short days and long periods between Holidays can lead many to feel a little blue. But, it’s important to stay healthy and happy all year around. This guide equally applies all year round.
So, read on for how to get started with beating the blues, getting outdoors and using a mindfulness approach to photography, leading to; greater happiness and improved mental health. Read on for how to get started.
The most important thing is to have a camera with you! Plan a time to head out with a camera, or use your phone camera to make it a daily routine.
2. Relax and be in the moment
Pop your phone on silent and take a deep calming breath. Look around. What catches your eye? Colours reflecting off the clouds, interesting shadows, the sway of a tree in the breeze?
Tip: Nature’s proven to improve mental and overall health, but mindfulness photography works equally well in and around town. Truly stop and look around – you’ll be surprised how much more you see!
3. Take the photo
Walk around the subject that caught your eye, look for different angles and perspectives, and carefully observe how the elements interact. Notice what you previously had not. Now, Click, take the photo. Doesn’t that feel good?
4. Review and recompose
Check the photo and look for small changes that could take your photo up a notch. Could your timing be better or perhaps there’s a litter bin just poking into the photo?! Recompose and Click.
Before you know it you’ve left your daily worries behind.
A little about me
Embracing a mindful approach to photography has been so important in my life. Being diagnosed with Crohn’s – an incurable life-long illness – brought many challenges, including a change of career from office work to become a landscape photographer. The peace it brings me is something I hope viewers can also enjoy from my photographic art.
To see how a mindful approach has influenced my landscape photography take a look at the online galleries & shop.
To unlock your creativity and learn how your camera really works – contact me for 1:1 and group lessons in Sussex on 07920 038501 or via the contact form.