Being a photographer is seriously awesome. There are about a bazillion reasons why, but I’ve compiled 54 really fantastic ones for your reading pleasure.
Now, why would I bother taking the time to write this massive list?
Well, maybe you’re just curious about photography, but aren’t sure if you should really dive into it. Fair warning, these reasons will totally convince you that photography is an amazing skill to develop. I’m sure of it.
Or perhaps you’re into photography already. This list is still for you! After you read all these reasons you’ll probably be even more inspired by this medium, and be itching to get out and shoot more! Who knows, maybe you’ll get an idea or two for a new photo project! I sure did!
Here’s the deal. I think everyone should get into photography. (Yes, everyone). You don’t ever have to do it professionally. That’s not what being a photographer means (you can read more about our thoughts on that here). Being a photographer just means you really love photography. And hopefully after reading all of this, you’ll see that it can give you more than you ever imagined.
One last note before we jump in. These reasons aren’t all just made up off the top of my head. We actually just wrapped up a giveaway, and asked the question “What first got you interested in photography?”. With 250 responses we were able to get an amazing peek at what makes photography so special for lots of folks. So we read all the responses, took notes, and pulled out the common themes. That’s what makes up this list! So credit for all these awesome reasons goes to our fantastic readers. Thanks for sharing so openly everyone. You rock.
1. Capture a memory that you can have forever
With a photo you can capture a moment, and have it forever. I think we take that idea for granted, with photography being so ubiquitous these days. But seriously just take a second to appreciate that. If you did that in Ancient Greece they’d call you a sorcerer. Or a god.
2. Notice the details
Photography changes the way you see things. It’s actually quite an incredible transformation to experience. Suddenly you notice light, shapes, colours, textures, people, bulidings, trees, flowers…Everything around you looks different when you start to see the world as a photographer.
3. See The Beauty In The Every Day
Once you start noticing details, you inevitably start to see how much beauty is all around you. Every day is filled with it—in the most ordinary or unexpected places. When you start to derive happiness from seeing some particuarly awesome light, you’ll realize that photography has changed your everyday experience.
4. Live In The Present
And to round out this theme, photography, through it’s ability to help you see details and notice the beauty around you, helps you to truly live in the present. When you shoot you have to be aware of everything if you want to capture it. You can’t be thinking about the movie you watched last night, or what you’re going to have for dinner. Photography focuses you on the now, which is incredibly valuable!
5. Forget Your Worries
Photography is something you get immersed in (see above!). You lose yourself in shooting, and all your worries and daily stresses just melt away.
6. Share It With The Important People In Your Life
One of the top ways people got into photography (according to our results) was through someone important to them. People credited their mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, sibling, friend and even great-grandparents. Photography is a passion that you can share with the important people in your life. You can pass it down to the next generation, and spur their love of this amazing art.
7. Document Your Family
And the MOST common reason folks got interested in photography was because of family—particularly having their own children. Photography is a way to document the lives of your kids, and that alone is worth learning all you can about it. One day you may also be documenting the lives of your grandkids!!
8. Capture The Amazing Range of Love And Emotion In Kids
Whether they are your own, a friend’s, or a client’s, kids are an amazing photographic subject. They see the world differently, and often express a lot more love and emotion than adults. Being able to capture that is both a fantastic photographic challenge, and a profound learning experience.
9. It’s A Creative Outlet
Everyone should have a creative outlet. There’s no use pulling the excuse that you’re “not creative”. Anyone can push the button on a camera, and point it at something they think looks cool. It’s honestly that simple to be creative.
10. Make Art
And the result of that creative act? You can create art. That just flat out rocks.
11. A Great Challenge
Now, there is actually a lot more to photography than just pointing the camera at something and pressing the button. That’s where you start. But learning to become a great photographer is a serious challenge. You’ll always be learning something new, have new directions to explore, and new challenges to face. And that’s a good thing! This is a pursuit that you will never be bored with.
12. Share Your Perspective
Everyone sees things differently. Put 100 photographers in a room and you’ll get 100 different photos. The way you see the world is unique, and photography lets you share that perspective with others.
13. Express Yourself
Your unique perspective can go further than just showing people how you see a scene. Photography also lets you express yourself—your opinions and beliefs. You do this by choosing what you photograph, and how you represent it. This aspect of your photography is ever-changing as you change. You get a sense of what a photographer is like as a person by looking at their body of work. This part of photography is absolutely fascinating as a viewer, and fulfilling as a shooter.
14. Tell A Story
Photography is a fantastic story-telling medium. Whether you’re telling a story with one image, a sequence, a series, or an entire portfolio, the possiblities are endless. Just ask yourself what story you want to tell, and photography can get you there.
15. Capture An Adventure
One very common way people get interested in photography is through travelling. Who doesn’t pack a camera with them on a trip? The more you practice and learn about photography, the better you’ll be able to document your adventure.
16. The Best Souvenir
Photographs are the best souvenir from your travels. They are personal, beautiful, and have a story behind them. The trinkets you buy in markets inevitably break, or clutter up your home. A stunning photo on the wall is personal art that puts a smile on your face as it reminds you of that exciting adventure!
17. Take You Somewhere You’ve Never Been
Maybe you haven’t been to an exotic locale, but photos can practically transport you there like a Stargate. They can show you the people, the food, and the sights. Or maybe you want to share your own travels with friends and family. They get to come along with you when you take awesome photos!
18. Get Close To What You’re Interested In
Photography is a fantastic gateway into anything else you’re interested in. Really fascinated by the music world? Become a music photographer and you’ll get to meet the musicians and observe the inner workings of the industry. We are really into coffee, and got to spend an entire day touring a local coffee roastery and shooting it. We loved the experience and they loved the photos—win-win all around.
19. Make You Feel Emotion
Photos make you feel. They can produce every emotion, from happiness, to sadness, fear and excitement. There is so much contained in one small frame—learning to produce them, and read them certainly opens you up to feeling.
20. Can Make Other People Feel Emotion
Your photos can make people happy. They can make people sad. Through simply showing your images you can evoke an emotion in someone else. With the internet you can affect so many people at once. Photography can really connect people in that way.
21. Can Make Other People Think
With your images you can also make people stop and think. Just a glance at a powerful image can stop people in their tracks. Some images can change the way you view the world for the rest of your life. Strong stuff.
22. Capture the Essence of a Person
A photo can capture the essence of a person, sometimes in just one frame. This is the goal of master portrait photographers everywhere, and an enormous challenge. But when it is achieved, it’s an incredible thing. Sometimes it takes a series of photos to express the nuances of that person, but either way photography has a way of showing those subtleties that can be hard to describe in words.
23. Remember Someone Who has Passed Away
After someone has passed, photos of them become treasured items. Without getting too morbid, everyone will die, and photos are potentially the best way to preserve the image and spirit of a person.
24. Learn More About Yourself
Photography involves a lot of introspection over the course of a career. The deeper you get, the more you realize that it’s all about what you are interested in, how you feel about it, and what you want to say to the people who view your work. As you shoot, you learn more about yourself, what you value, and how you see the world.
25. Preserve The Big Moments
Life is filled with “big moments”. Births, graduations, weddings, first steps—these are all moments that should be documented for family history. And a lot of the big moments aren’t times when you’d hire a professional photographer. Learning more about photography prepares you to capture those big moments for yourself.
26. Enjoy Photos And Memories with Loved Ones
Imagine you’re sitting around a big box of photos with friends and family. There would be a lot of talking, laughs, stories, jokes, and maybe even a tear or two. It’s an amazing way to connect.
27. Enjoy The Work of Other Photographers
History is filled with incredible photographers. The more you learn about photography, the more you appreciate their work. What makes Annie Leibovitz’s work so great? Why is Ansel Adams such a big name? Learning more gives more enjoyment.
28. Shoot Anytime, Anywhere
Photography is so accessible that you can shoot at any moment. You might not always be able to pull out a canvas and some oils to paint with, or grab a guitar and start to play if a creative urge strikes you, but a camera is so small and portable that you can shoot anytime, anywhere.
Photographing someone is an intimate experience. You connect with people in a completely unique way with a camera in hand and your full attention on them. It’s easier to talk, easier to just look at them—seriously, it’s cool. It’s especially wonderful when you photograph someone you love.
30. Capture a Feeling, Not Just An Appearance
Photographs can show more than just how something looked. They can capture how something felt. Especially if the photographer felt it themselves.
31. Help People See the Beauty In Themselves
It’s a funny thing. A lot of people I know think they aren’t photogenic. And a lot of photographers I know believe that everyone is beautiful. Photographers (especially the great portrait photographers) know how to see the beauty in someone that might not even see it themself. To show that to them in the photos is an incredible gift.
32. Document History
The present is the history of the future. You never know when you’ll be right in the middle of a world changing event, and your camera will create the record for generations to come.
33. It’s Really Damn Fun + Exciting!!
A lot of these reasons are pretty heavy on the emotion, but photography is also just really damn fun and exciting! Shooting is a blast, and can often get the adrenaline pumping like crazy!!! It’s a trip.
34. Cameras Are Mechanical Art
Gears, dials, shutters, lenses—cameras are seriously cool. There are so many types: film, digital, instant, toy, point and shoot, SLR, TLR, rangefinder, medium format, large format to name a few. And a lot are gorgeous machines. It’s a blast to learn more about them, and appreciate what they can do!
35. Make Others Happy
Photos make people happy. Whether you captured a great portrait, snagged a shot of a special moment, or took a few photos to help a friend’s new business, photography can spread a lot of joy. That’s awesome.
36. Brings Families Together
Having photos taken as a family can bring you together. The act suggests that you want to remember each other, just because. And the resultant images show the love you share. An excellent reminder on those particularly cranky days.
37. Capture The Personality of Your Pet
Pets are an important part of your life too! And they all have personalities of their own. Photos let you capture them in all their glory, to share with the whole world!!
38. Take Better Family Portraits Than You Had
Maybe you grew up with awkward family photos, and don’t want to put your own progeny through that. Learning to take great photos can help kids actually enjoy the process (it’s true!!).
39. Take Better Photos for Yourself
A lot of photography is shared, and that’s awesome. But there’s something to be said for taking great photos just for yourself. No one else sees them, comments on them, or has to like them. It’s rather freeing.
40. Capture Raw Emotion
People are incredibly interesting. And emotion is a part of that. Seeing how the face changes during a laugh, or how body language reflects mood are all fascinating studies, and photography helps you capture that.
41. Freeze Movement
42. Bend Reality
Along those lines, photography can give you a different look at the world. Time lapses, HDR shots, light painting and more. Photography is just as good at bending reality as it is at capturing it.
43. Enjoy Infinite Possibilities
There are literally infinite possible photographic subjects. Literally.
44. Enjoy The Process
The process of photography can honestly be super enjoyable. Shooting is obviously a blast, but there’s more to it! Sorting and editing your images is an essential part of the process, and doesn’t have to be painful. The more you learn about it, and come to understand the *why* behind it all, the more you’ll enjoy it. It’s like spending some personal time with your photos!!
45. Healing. Therapy. Meditation.
Photography can be all of those things. It can get you through the hardest times in your life. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the original responses. This story popped up multiple times. It’s amazing.
46. Create Something For Your Kids When They Are Older
Photos gain in value with every single day. Not many stocks can boast that. Each passing day brings you farther from that moment, but the photo holds it in place. Your kids might not appreciate all the photos you take of them right now, but when they are grown up, those images will be incredibly valuable.
47. Surprise Yourself
When you shoot a lot you’ll always surprise and amaze yourself. As long as you are always pushing yourself, you can be sure that photography won’t ever get dull! You’ll upload your photos and suddenly say “Wow! I can’t believe I took that!”. It’s really cool.
48. Witness Love
Photography brings you into a space where you get to really witness love. It’s amazing. You might not even notice when you’re shooting, but, looking at the photos afterwards, you spot that smile, that look in the eyes. You’ll see how much parents treasure photos of their kids. How an image of a loved one makes someone smile. It’s almost like photography gives you a pair of magic glasses and you put them on and all of a sudden BAM! You can see love all around!!
49. Help People
There’s something pretty special about being able to help people while doing something you’re passionate about. Photography is like that. Through volunteering you can give something of immense value to those who will really appreciate it.
50. Experience Different Emotions From The Same Photo
Photos have real depth. They can elicit different emotions from you at different times. As you change, your perspective changes, or the world changes, a photo can mean something profoundly different. It’s fantastic to experience.
51. Travel In Time
Photographs let you travel through time without the use of a DeLorean. They can bring you back to a moment that you experienced, and you can remember just how you felt. Or they can bring you waaaaay back to a time before you were even born. Then you can wonder about how others felt!
52. Communicate Across Language and Culture
Photography is like music. There are no language barriers or culture barriers. You can communicate with people around the world with an image. And you can connect! Once you start getting your work out there, you’ll be amazed at the connections you make because of it.
53. Make Money
Oh yeah, and you can potentially make money from photography! Pretty nifty, earning money from something so cool. But hopefully you can see that this is just one small reason to become a photographer. Even if you never make a dime at it, it’s definitely a worthwhile pursuit!! (Please see above for reasons why.)
54. Develop A Love for Life
After all these reasons, this one should just make sense. With all the beauty, joy, love, connection, variety, history, adventure, movement, emotion, and awesomeness that makes up life, how could you not be stoked to get out there and experience it?? With camera in hand, of course.
Let’s wrap it up here. Anyone can become a photographer. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, what country you live in, or what language you speak. Just get your hands on a camera–any camera–and start shooting. Practice, think about your work, and open yourself up to your experiences. Keep at it and you’ll see firsthand why being a photographer is so gosh darn awesome!!
Can you think of any other reasons to be a photographer? Share them with us in the comments now!