Why Do We Take Photos?

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Why do we take photos? What is the appeal that makes photographers continue to take photos?

Professionals do it to get paid. It’s how they pay the bills. It’s how they put food on the table. It’s how they take care of their families. But, they also have a love for photography. It’s that love that drives photographers to keep shooting pictures. So, I guess the real question is, why do we love it? Here are some of my reasons.

"Lomographer" captured by Achmad Arfian. (Click image to see more from Achmad Arfian.

“Lomographer” captured by Achmad Arfian. (Click image to see more from Achmad Arfian.

Capture Memories

How many times have you gone to a friend or family member’s home and picked up a photo album? Were you able to go through that album without smiling at least once? Probably not. If you’re like me, you probably turned through the pages of that photo album and re-lived some of the memories you saw in the pictures. I’m sure you said things like “I remember this!” or “We had so much fun here!” It didn’t matter that the photos were probably taken by an amateur photographer. The photos did the job of capturing those memories.

Capture Moments

Moments happen all the time and they can happen fast. A kitten pouncing on a ball of yarn. A wave crashing against the shore. The swing from a batter at a baseball game. Photography freezes these moments so we can take the time to enjoy them.

Tells Stories

Have you ever seen a photograph that just made you stop and look? Many times, the subject of a photo is so powerful, it doesn’t matter if it was taken by a professional or amateur photographer. The stories these photos tell can sometimes have the ability to overshadow any technical ability of the photographer. These stories can be happy, sad, and any number of other emotions. Think of photos of Olympic medalists at that moment of victory. Think of photos of tragedies such as natural disasters and war. These stories can also be more personal, such as the photos taken at your wedding.

Communicate With Others

You’ve heard the old saying. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s very true. Professional and amateur photographers alike have the ability to express themselves through their images. When someone looks at one of your photos, they are able to see something exactly the way you saw it. Photography can convey ideas in a very artistic, visual, and creative way.

"Anahita" captured by Nishant Mishra. (Click image to see more form Nishant Mishra.)

“Anahita” captured by Nishant Mishra. (Click image to see more form Nishant Mishra.)

Improving As A Photographer

I’m sure you can agree with many of the things I’ve written about our love of photography. I also feel it’s safe to say that many photographers wish they could improve their ability with a camera. All of us have looked at photos we’ve taken, compared to photos others have taken of the same or similar subject matter. We may have asked ourselves, “How did they get their photos to look so much better than mine?” How many times have you taken a photo, only to be disappointed with the outcome? It can be frustrating sometimes.

We have a drive to get better and, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. We may shoot 100 photos and find 1 that we think is absolutely amazing. It’s that one photo that keeps us shooting. It’s that one photo that inspires us to try to do it again.

"Hurray" captured by Natalie Milissenta Shmeleva. (Click image to see more from Natalie Milissenta Shmeleva.)

“Hurray” captured by Natalie Milissenta Shmeleva. (Click image to see more from Natalie Milissenta Shmeleva.)

So get out your camera and go capture some memories! Go capture the moments that happen around you! Tell stories with your images! Continually improve your photography! Most importantly, share your images with others. Because your photography can not only inspire you, but it can inspire others as well.

As always, Happy shooting!

About the Author:
Jason Pryor writes for jasonpryorphotography.com. You can find more info about him, view his work, and learn more about improving your photography on the site.

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5 Comments

  1. Excellent…..enjoyed reading this. Well said, good point. Great opening line: “Professionals do it to get paid.”…thanks Rob

  2. John Gaylord says:

    There’s another significant but perhaps less obvious reason: photographers see things that other people don’t see, we see things through the camera that cannot be observed with the naked eye, and we organize our images within a frame as artists do. Photographic image making can be a creative process of discovery and revelation as much as it is a medium of communication.

  3. Jason Pryor says:

    Hey guys! I’m Jason, the author of this article. I’m glad you liked it!

    Rob – I’m happy you liked my comment about professionals doing it to get pain. I didn’t want it to come off as sounding condescending. I hope no one thinks that they don’t also do it for the love of their craft. But, the bottom line is that it does pay the bills, LOL!

    John – Excellent point! I am a strong believer that photos take just as much creativity as creating a painting from scratch. In some ways, it’s more creative. When painting, you have the freedom to create anything. In photography, you have to work with the scene you’re presented with.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Jason Pryor says:

    I meant they get “paid”. Not “pain”. Though, sometimes that’s the case too, haha!

  5. Chris says:

    “When someone looks at one of your photos, they are able to see something exactly the way you saw it.” – Well, that is an ideal situation. Come to think of it, not even. You see, meaning in art is a two-way street. Even if I succeed in expressing with a photo 100% of what I had in mind (in terms of mood, emotion, expression), at least 25-30% of viewers see something else. Because we bring our own thoughts and emotions into art.

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