Taking up photography is often done with the goal of developing a skill. Recent years have sparked a dramatic interest in the hobby; made even easier by technology. Mobile phones now allow anyone to point and shoot and take incredibly detailed photographs. But the rapid growth of photography has also had an unexpected outcome.
Mental health professionals have studied the relationship between photography and how people perceive information. Two surprising psychological benefits were found.
It enhances joy: A study concluded that taking photos affects the way people enjoy everyday activities. How exactly this works is still being researched, but a general assumption is that those taking photos are completely engaged in the activity. Looking through a lens forces the photographer to live in the present moment; which is a key characteristic of mindfulness and improved mental health. Those who continue the practice are able to achieve a sense of contentment and relaxation, which affects joy and how one appreciates life.
It improves focus: Jumping off from the previous point, those who regularly take photos are recorded to be more focused than those who do not. Additionally, the focus is not limited to just maintaining a subject in place; the focus was seen to enhance creativity as well. Photographers have to be able to view things differently; these are reflected in their work.
There are other studies that document various benefits, but these two are the ones that psychologists were most surprised with. It is hoped that this would encourage more people to take up the hobby – not only for the potential to learn a new skill but for personal growth as well.