How Photography Helps Mental Health
Updated: Jul 24
Photography and its mental health benefits really pulled me through these past two years. It's been a hell of a time, hasn't it? We have been locked indoors thanks to a global pandemic and we are only just finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Having a creative outlet to focus my mind on has really helped me to stay sane. I don't know what I would have done without it.
It is well known that creative activities are good for our minds but everyone's experience is different. That's why I thought I would share my experience with how photography helps mental health and maybe this can encourage you to find a creative outlet that can do the same!
Make Others Feel Good
I believe that one of the main mental health benefits of photography, in particular styles of photography where you work with a model, is that you can help others feel good about themselves. I have worked with many new models who have never modelled for a photoshoot before. The feeling you get when you see the model fall in love with the images is amazing. I love showing them the images and them realising their potential. It's so heart warming watching their confidence grow throughout the shoot. I feel so lucky that I can help people feel that way!
Like Photographic Therapy
When it comes to photography and mental health, I find that photographing takes away my negative emotions- it's like photographic therapy! If I go to a photoshoot in a negative mood, I can guarantee it will float away within a few shots. This is because working on a photoshoot gives you something else to focus your mind on that is both positive and productive. I find that putting my energy into creative things takes my mind off of my worries, focusses me and channels my negative emotions- even if it is just for a short time.
Visualise Your Emotions
A common way you can help yourself to feel better when you are in a low mood is to write down your feelings in a notebook. When you do this you are able to purge all of your emotions onto a piece of paper and therefore process them.
I find that photography works in a similar way for my mental health. I like to write down my feelings, form them into a photoshoot idea and therefore visualise my emotions in photoshoot. It makes for a great way to get myself out of a creative rut too- it's a win win!
Think of the amount of time you put into a photoshoot. You spend time planning the shoot and exploring a variety of ideas. Then, you must find the perfect model and suitable location. Shoot day then arrives and you spend a few hours photographing which then only leaves time for editing the images. That is a lot of time and effort!
Now think about how brilliant I feels when you have just finished editing, you sit back and look through all of your final images. You burst with pride and are so excited to show the model the work you both produced! All of that work you put in is so worth it when you have something tangible to show for it!
Learning A New Skill
Being good at photography is obviously a skill. It is not just pushing a button. Every time you are on a photoshoot you are learning new things and experimenting too. I find this deeply rewarding and it can be the same with any other skill.
Learning a new skill, whatever it may be, is great at helping boost your confidence. When you feel as though you are good at something, of course, your self esteem follows suit. In addition, think about those times you have mastered something you found impossible or just a little difficult. That feeling when you master it... that's enough to improve anyone's mood!