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Why Everyone Should Learn Photography

A photo a lighthouse on a harbor breakwall.
Harry Guinness / LifeSavvy

You carry an incredible camera with you all the time: your smartphone. The quality of the photos that even a mid-range smartphone takes is insane. And, since you’ve got such a powerful tool, why not learn to use it well?

You’ll Take Better Pictures

A lot of the situations people take photos of with their smartphones—their children growing up, fun events and concerts, vacations—only happen once. You can’t redo your child’s third birthday party or go back to Tahiti with your fiancé.

The amount of effort required to take out your smartphone or camera, line up an okay shot, and press the shutter button isn’t much less than the effort needed to take out your smartphone, line up a great shot, and take the photo. You just need to know a little bit more about photography.

good travel photo
Harry Guinness

The photos you take now are going to be your record. They’re the thing you can look back on in six months, a year, or ten years. Why not spend a week or two learning the basics of photography, and have better photos to look back on. I doubt you’ll regret it.

You Learn to View Photos as Permanent

Most people have 1000s of photos sitting, neglected, on their phones. They get taken, maybe posted to Instagram, and then they’re forgotten. Nothing ever comes of them because, really, they never put much thought into them outside of the moment they take them.

However, if you start to take good photos—which you’ll do if you learn how—then your photos will begin to have more meaning to you. You’ll remember the photos you took, and what was happening when you took them. You’ll revisit them more often, show them to friends, and maybe even print and frame them. Unlike most people, you’ll get real value from the hundreds of photos—and let’s be real, that’s a lowball estimate—you take a year.

It’s a Great Way to Travel

Photography and travel go hand in hand. Carrying a camera is one of the best ways to explore a new place. You start to notice small details and see how light plays on different things. You’ll consider getting up before dawn to see the sunrise or deliberately head to a beautiful location for the sunset.

Harry Guinness

Now don’t get me wrong; you don’t have to build every vacation around photography. Once you learn photography, even if you don’t have your camera with you, you’re still going to notice details and potential photos when you wander around a new place. This is how your photographer friends can go to the same place you visited, and come away with stunning photos of things you didn’t even notice.

You Connect More Deeply With Your Home

And it’s not just new places that photography can help you connect with: it’s the old familiar places too. I love walking with the dogs and my camera around the hill behind my family’s home. By revisiting the same spots again and again, I see how time and weather and the season changes them. The same places take on new shades.

home photo
Harry Guinness

How often do you explore the place you live? How often do you pay attention to the small changes that are happening every day? While you don’t need photography to help you be more mindful and connected to your home, it really helps. It gives you a tool to play with.

It’s a Creative Outlet

The urge to create is human. It’s why so many people want to make movies, paint, write, and, yes, take photographs. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to be creative in their day to day work or school lives.

creative photo
Harry Guinness

Photography is one of the best creative outlets for a simple reason: it’s fast and easy. If you want to start being creative daily, you only need to spend three minutes every day with your camera in hand. The same can’t be said if you want to start writing or painting.

It’s a Useful Skill

Knowing how to take good photos is an incredibly useful skill, both personally and professionally.

Want to stand out on a dating site? Try having a decent photo that shows you off in a good light instead of a selfie or group photo. Or just help your friends out when they need a good picture for a resume.

Or, if you’re going for a new job, mention that you also take good photos. Lots of companies don’t have dedicated social media people; they just have a regular employee take and post occasional images. If you offer to up their image game, it’s a significant point in your favor. The world is going multimedia—you might as well too.

How to Learn To Take Good Pictures

If I’ve convinced you that learning photography is worth it then I’ve got some good news: right here at LifeSavvy, we’ve got a detailed guide on how to use your camera. If you’re not determined to use a dedicated camera, we also have an article on how to take better photos with just your smartphone.

Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like the New York Times and on a variety of other websites, including Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »
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