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Why learn photography? It’s a good question. Of all the other pursuits that you could spend your time and energy on, why choose cameras and photos? Well, in short, because it can increase the quality of your life in so many ways.

Though this article can prove beneficial to anyone, it was specifically written with three kinds of people in mind:

If any of those describe you, keep reading. Here are several ways in which photography can make your life better, so start learning it today (or keep going if you’ve already started).

1. It Can Make You Happier

I know a lot of people might disagree, but photography does have the potential to make you a happier person — which is also true of many other creative hobbies — and there’s science to back up that claim 5 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You a Happier Person 5 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You a Happier Person Read More .

Long story short, photographs have more power to lift your mood than eating chocolate, listening to music, watching TV, or drinking alcohol. All of those things register an average mood increase of 1% whereas photographs are closer to 11%.

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Not only that, but the very act of photography is both satisfying and stress relieving, at least for some people. For everyone else, photography still gives you a way to deal with idle hands and restlessness.

It provides a creative outlet that’s distinctly unique from other forms of creativity, like drawing, painting, or writing. It’s less about creating from nothing than it is about capturing what’s already there, and there’s a lot of power in that difference.

2. It Opens Your Eyes and Mind

This is the first benefit that most people think of when photography is mentioned: the fact that photography forces you to see things according to new angles, new perspectives, and new lenses. Nobody can see things like a photographer, not even an artist.

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But what does this really mean in practice? Essentially, we’re saying that photography unlocks a part of you that lets you see things that were always there but you never cared to notice. It opens up a new dimension in your brain.

Photography requires that you approach subjects from unusual angles and perspectives in a physical sense, but it also molds you in a way that lets you see those same subjects from new metaphorical angles and perspectives. It changes you, often for the better.

3. It Lets You Connect With Others

For the most part, photography is a great way to meet new people. If you do portrait, product, or event work, you’ll always be meeting new clients. Local photography groups are another great way to meet folks and make friends.

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But the deeper benefit is that photography can help you establish stronger bonds with the people who are already in your life, whether by capturing your daughter’s graduation, snapping shots of your nephew 9 Smart Tips for Taking Great Candid Photographs You'll Love 9 Smart Tips for Taking Great Candid Photographs You'll Love Candid photos are tough to get right. It's not just about capturing a moment, but the emotion of that moment -- and moments are fleeting. They come and go in the blink of an eye. Read More , or showing your mother the wonders of the world at large.

More so, photography can transform someone’s life. For example, taking a beautiful portrait of a subject with low self-esteem can change how they see themselves. It’s a wonderful thing when your photography can help improve the lives of others, not just yourself.

4. It Helps Preserve Special Moments

Here’s another well-known benefit to photography, but I’d be remiss to leave this one out. With everything gone digital these days, it’s easier than ever to preserve memories — but a skilled photographer can do so in a way that’s more true and impactful.

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It’s one thing to document that burger you’re eating, but it’s another to document someone’s birth, graduation, or wedding. Or let’s go even smaller than that: what about a simple photograph of a friend who’s splitting his sides with laughter?

You never know how valuable a photograph might be, which is why we think everyone should learn a bit of photography Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Bit of Photography Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Bit of Photography Everyone should learn a little bit of photography because everyone can benefit from it. Here are five reasons why you should consider picking it up. Read More , even if you never intend to go beyond the level of a hobbyist. Those special moments are precious and everyone deserves to have them.

5. It Enhances Other Life Activities

One of the great things about photography is that it’s an activity that can be paired with many other activities: cooking, hiking, picnics, road trips, zoo visits, weddings, gatherings among friends and family, etc.

And contrary to popular belief, photography can actually enhance your enjoyment of these complementary activities! According to a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

Across three field and six lab experiments, we find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies. This occurs when photo-taking increases engagement with the experience, which is less likely when the experience itself is already highly engaging, or when photo-taking interferes with the experience.

As further evidence of an engagement-based process, we show that photo-taking directs greater visual attention to aspects of the experience one may want to photograph.

Or in other words, as long as the activity itself isn’t too involved (i.e. sports), photography can help you better appreciate it by turning something that’s mostly passive into something that requires more active participation.

6. It Boosts Your Confidence

Becoming skilled in anything can be a great way to boost your confidence 6 Soft Skills Every Technology Worker Needs For Career Success 6 Soft Skills Every Technology Worker Needs For Career Success Some special skills are lacking in the IT field. For career success, you need the right attitude. Here are six important soft skills that'll get you noticed at your next IT job interview. Read More , but there’s something special about photography in this regard.

It’s one thing to feel confident in your abilities. It’s another thing entirely to build confidence in life. How much “life confidence” do you get from being a master programmer, master IT repairman, etc? Some. Not much, though.

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But when you learn photography and start being able to capture the beauty of everything around you, that’s the kind of thing you can share on Facebook or Instagram. Photography is something that everyone can appreciate, and that can be a massive confidence booster.

Is it healthy to base your entire sense of self-worth on the praises of others? Of course not! But everyone has to start somewhere and a little bit of that can go a long way towards making you feel more confident in yourself.

7. It Can Generate Extra Income

Perhaps the most practical reason to pick up photography is that it can bring in supplemental income. There are various ways to make money through photography 5 Most Lucrative Careers for a Budding Photographer 5 Most Lucrative Careers for a Budding Photographer Want to make money with photography? There are a lot of potential career paths before you. Here are a few considerations to help you make the right choice. Read More , such as selling stock photos online 12 Most Profitable Places to Sell Your Photos Online 12 Most Profitable Places to Sell Your Photos Online If you have photos that you want to sell, there are a number of websites that can help you. Here are 12 of the best. Read More .

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Will you be raking in thousands of dollars per month? Probably not without starting an actual photography business 4 Hard Truths About Professional Photography (And Solutions) 4 Hard Truths About Professional Photography (And Solutions) Do you want to start making money with your photography skills? Here are a handful of important considerations to make before taking that leap. Truth is, photography ain't easy. Read More , but you can certainly earn a few extra hundred dollars, whether through stock shots, portraits, real estate, local restaurants, etc.

There are even ways to make money with only smartphone photos How to Make Money from Your Smartphone Photography How to Make Money from Your Smartphone Photography Thanks to the sheer number of apps and stock photography sites, selling your photos for some extra cash is easier than ever before. Read More . And with that extra cash, you can put it towards expanding your camera gear 9 Essential Gear Items Every Newbie Photographer Should Own 9 Essential Gear Items Every Newbie Photographer Should Own Many photography accessories are situationally useful, meaning you may only need certain things for specific types of photography. 80% of the time, you'll only need the essentials. Here are those essentials. Read More or digging your way out of debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt Imagine being debt free. No overdrawn balances or unpaid bills. There is a foolproof way of getting yourself out of debt. It starts with a plan and some discipline. Let's visit the other ingredients. Read More .

Has Photography Improved Your Life?

It has for me. I’ve experienced all of the benefits listed above, at least in part, and have found that picking up photography was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Am I good? I don’t think so, but that’s okay. You don’t have to be skilled in order for photography to have a positive impact on your own life.

If you’re thinking of giving it a try for yourself, please do! You won’t regret it. You don’t even have to invest much money — start with a smartphone camera 6 Reasons Your Smartphone is the Best Camera You Own 6 Reasons Your Smartphone is the Best Camera You Own It might not be a digital SLR, but your smartphone is punching well above its weight when it comes to photography. The next time you go out, leave your old point and shoot at home. Read More and that should be good enough.

For the rest of you, I’d love to hear about how photography has impacted you — whether for good or for bad. Please share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below!

Image Credits: DSLR Girl via Shutterstock, Green Butterflies via Shutterstock, Bride Shoot via Shutterstock, Father and Son via Shutterstock, Confident Photographer via Shutterstock, Camera Lens via Shutterstock

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