Why Photography Is Such A Great Hobby

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It’s a simple question. Why am I taking pictures? What’s so special about photography compared to other visual art forms?

I’m not writing this to give you an answer, but I’m sharing why I love what photography does for me and why I think it’s such a great hobby to integrate into my life, which also resulted to me starting a photography blog site.

photography as a hobby

"Random Encounter" captured by Willy Yohanes (Click Image to See More From Willy Yohanes)

Why Photography Means A Lot To Me

As I share my personal reasons to these questions and I’d like to encourage you to add yours in the commenting section as well. Feel free to add a link to your blog or gallery for everyone to enjoy as well.

I’m sure everybody has a GREAT story to tell.

Photography Fills A Need

I believe we all picked up a camera at a very young age, no matter how simple or basic that camera may have been. My first camera was a Canon Snappy 50 given to me by my mom when I was 8. I believe it was because of the 84 Olympics ads that I saw in the magazines that kept advertising this camera. It’s unusually long frame and that little orange tab to make the flash fire were icing on the cake for an 8-yo! I wanted the star-spangled version but that was unavailable in Asia back then.

Anyway, my mom was a shutter bug, not in a technical or artistic sense, however.

Like most moms, she snaps everything and records every little embarrassing memorable moment my sister and I go through. It was like a diary for her, and she ended up having suitcases of photo prints sorted in plastic bags and Dymo labels (remember those? Damn I’m dating myself too much here!).

Fast forward to my grade school and high school years, my camera adventures circled around taking photos of friends, skateboarding antics, and martial art events. In college, the acquisition of a proper SLR opened the floodgate of gear lust and more serious phases of photography.

Now that I’m a father, my camera’s job circled back to what my mom used to do, documenting my son’s adventures. My son’s daily photo diary started four years ago and I’m still doing it now. I wished I was able to start the daily photo project earlier, but at least I took enough pictures of him since birth that my collection can still be considered ‘complete’.

hobby photographers

Photo captured by Kameron Barney (Click Image to See More From Kameron Barney)

Photography also fills a lot of less personal needs for me. From taking pictures for my businesses, earning opportunities through paid photography services, or even starting my online blogging journey (this site!). I wouldn’t have experienced those things if it wasn’t because of photography.

Practicality

Many feel that photography isn’t an art nor should it deserve as much attention as paintings because it’s relatively easy to get into photography. While I do agree to a certain extent, there are several factors the naysayers fail to realize as well.

Anyone with an image-capturing device can get started with photography, that makes it fun and personal for everyone. Yes, you don’t need talent to take pictures, but unless your goal was to make photography your art medium, there’s nothing wrong with just snapping pictures with no concern on technicalities nor aesthetics.

I don’t think there’ll be many people out there walking into an art store buying a set of paint brushes and start painting out of convenience or impulse. I’ve yet to see a major headline news moment being drawn or painted either, it’s just not an immediate way to communicate compared to photography. Ever wondered why it’s easier to find a camera for sale than a set of art brush?

I appreciate a good sketch or painting as much as anyone, but for a guy like me who has no talent in painting or drawing, there’s a big, invisible wall preventing me from connecting to any paint artist.

A photograph, on the other hand, allows me to imagine as if I’m seeing the place through the eyes of the photographer (I hate that cliché, but there’s no better phrase).

With digital photography, the immediate feedback connects us even faster. Camera phones, remote uploads, social media sharing all allows us to see the world as it happens – yes, even if there’s no skill involved!

Now how is that a bad thing?

photography development

"Colorado Road" captured by Scott A. Pope (Click Image to See More From Scott A. Pope)

The Gadgets Are Fun

As with any hobby, the success, growth and longevity depends greatly with its marketability.

The technology revolving around photography is highly addictive and the way brands play into people’s minds produced both amusing conflicts and insipirational camaraderie. The simple fact that most of the products aren’t that different but they are marketed in such a way that only subjective comparisons can be made these days allows photography to be an endless source of debate, which by itself is entertaining and attention grabbing already.

Film cameras in the past get to enjoy a life cycle of about 2-3 years per model. Now in the digital world, even the highest models only get 18 months of life before being supplanted by a new model. Entry level cameras won’t even last a year before they’re due for replacement.

New technologies bring out new needs for additional accessories and gadgets, and for most of us gear heads, we’re more than willing to help out the economy and feed that gear lust of ours.

Immortalizes The Things You Care About

The biggest reason, I believe, is just the ability of capturing a moment as it happens with just a single click of a button. Sure, skilled and experience photographers may capture the scene in a more artistic manner compared to the casual snapper, but the key point is, you captured what you want to remember right then and there!

Our brain and its stored memory are amazing, you can piece together fragments of an event and relive the entire day with ease. If it’s a group event, all of you can recall every single detail collectively with just one photograph. The emotions a photograph can throw back at you can be overwhelming at times regardless of technical execution.

The ability of photography to connect to our past, associate us in an event, and preserve memories without words or interpretation makes it an influential hobby for all of us.

preserving memories through photography

Photo captured by Trandinhkhiem (Click Image to See More From Trandinhkhiem)

What’s your story? How did you get started with photography? Where has it taken you and what else will you do with it? Share it below for the world to see.

About the Author:
David (from http://reviews.davidleetong.com/) is a freelance photographer, blogger, and writer providing quality and free photography-related tutorials, camera reviews, and Adobe Photoshop tips through his blog and workshops.

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25 Comments

  1. It’s a great job too!

  2. Diana says:

    much like yours, my parents were snap happy when it came to photographing my childhood. when we vacationed, it was important to take a photo to “prove that we were there”. so capturing the moment has been why I took on photography as a hobby.
    im still getting used to my new camera (Panasonic Lumix GF2) so i started a photography project to help me get more familiar with it. you can check it out here – http://3qverymuch.tumblr.com/

  3. Teresa says:

    I love taking pictures!! My grandma bought me my first camera when I was 10.
    I have had a camera with me since then, whether it was in my book bag, back pack or purse.
    Photographs are tangible memories, my personal memories that I can get out and actually SHOW to others.
    Through photographs, we can see where we have been, where others have been, how we have changed, and how others have changed.
    Pictures are pieces of us that will remain, long after we are gone.
    I love when I can look at something and frame it in my mind.
    Adjust a setting or two, and you change the entire mood of the scene……
    Im not a professional, but taking pictures, playing with my settings……brings me peace and joy.

  4. Rich Medica says:

    Thanks for the great article David.
    I took shots as a kid but never really got into Photgraphy until two years ago at age 55 II went on vacation to Zion, Bryce , Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon and I was hooked. I go out almost everyday, even if its around the University of home and take shots at what ever catches my interest. Its a passion that will be with me forever.

    Thanks

  5. My dad was a professional photographer and I’ve had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember. When I’ve finished a portrait sessions, wedding, or an event, I can’t wait to get home, load the images on my computer and see what I’ve captured. Then I love going into photoshop to make them even better and presenting them to the client. It’s such a thrill and so gratifying when they love their images.

  6. Emery says:

    Great article. Like you I grew up with my mother taking pictures of me doing everything. Very annoying. And I did the same thing to my kids. Just capturing their life for memories. Two years ago when my last child moved out, I had more free time. And I really starting to “See things”. I have more time to see beauty in the most random things. It developed into me wanted to capture that beauty and share what I am seeing. I’ve done a few art shows, and had some success, but the most wonderful thing is to see peoples’ eyes light up when they see a familiar place that I have taken a picture of. I have such fun chatting with them and sharing stories. I wish I had gotten into this years ago. i have a blog which I am currently using for Project 365. http://www.emerysisland.blogspot.com, and am past President of the Gilford Clickers Photography club in Gilford NH. I can’t get enough of it! Thanks for sharing! have a great day!

  7. Ed Law says:

    at age 13 with a morning and evening paper route, I gradually paid off my first lay-away camera. Kodak f 6.3 1/100th folding. It is sitting on a shelf above me right now. Mother let me build a darkroom in our garage with cardboard from piano boxes and I added developing printing and enlarging as I could. Took unsolicited photos in the neighborhood of kids, parents and houses. Sold the 620 prints for 3¢ and, if requested, enlargements: 5×7 7¢, 8×10 12¢. Senior year in high school discovered girls. Graduated 1940.

    At Texas A&M after Pearl Harbor, so many were leaving every day that in Sept. ’42 I joined the Navy V-5. Commissioned in the Marine Corps. I bought my first “good” camera from 47th Street Photo while stationed at Floyd Bennett Field, NAS, Brooklyn, NY.: a Leica model ??? for $175 (months pay). Lost overboard a little later.

    Returned to finish education, changed to Architectural Eng. and entered construction – married, family and hundreds of “pictures” as many as I could afford – film and finishing. One of sons scanned them all and now are in my HD Folder and Lightroom catalog. Everything backed up!!

    After retiring and losing a lot of mobility (neuropathy – legs) became serious hobbyist making every effort to improve. The challenge is not too different from participation in high level sports .. learning curve is steep, much practice required, focus, time and $$$$$.

    But it has given real purpose to my later years with the wonderful places, people and events. Attended Photoshop World at age 86; met Julianne, Scott, Matt, Rob, R.C. Larry and so many great pros and hobbyist. Member of NAPP and subscriber with Kelbytraining.

    Golf may be a game of a lifetime, but only .. IF.

    Photography IS a game for a lifetime.

    God bless,

    Ed

  8. RB Davis says:

    A hobby that’s more frustrating than Golf!

  9. Kate says:

    I’ve always had an interest in photography – I love taking pictures and looking at others — but it wasn’t until recently when I decided to make this interest a hobby by purchasing my very first dSLR. I’ve only had it for a couple weeks now, but I’m IN LOVE with it and I’m really hoping to [eventually] turn this hobby into a profession of some kind.

  10. David Tong says:

    RB: Funny and true!

    As great as photography can be as a hobby and profession, it’s the basic connection and recording of our most intimate memories that make it so great and integral to our daily lives.

    Thanks PC for publishing my article, I’m honored

    Dave

  11. Michael says:

    My goodness, this is one of the most level headed photography articles that I have ever come across! I enjoyed it immensely and it brings to mind the very essence of photography – to capture a moment and share it with loved ones. The better the photo, the more joyful the sharing! A good photo opens up a passionate line of communication easily among people you care about … and that’s what is most important to us common people.

  12. Ann Courtney says:

    What a great article! Photography was always bubbling around in the background as I grew up and I took snaps along the way, friends, ponies etc. It wasn’t until 5 years ago when I lost 3 family members that I turned to photography bigtime. It very quickly became my “prozac” Since 15th June 2007 I have taken a photograph every day – my personal challenge of PaDing (Picture a Day) I have met and made friends with people all over the world, some met via this virtual world of ours and some in person. I can honestly say that photography saved my life……

  13. Dave Tong says:

    Sorry I hit reply too quickly and didn’t realize it… Allow me to respond to every one (great stories, I’d love to be able to connect with you guys in some ways, feel free to add me up on twitter @davidleetong)

    Gary: True, passion + monetization… hard to top that :)

    Diana: The GF2 is a great tool to have, i added you on Tumblr as well, feel free to email me if you need anything david at davidleetong.com. “Sang Kyu!”

    Teresa: Tangible memories… I’ve been searching for the right ‘short-phrase’ to summarize my article and that’s IT!. Thanks for sharing.

    Rich: That’s the beauty of it, it’s never too late, right? In one of the photography forums I moderate on, there’s a retiree who just bought his first DSLR last year (70s I think), it’s great chatting with him and seeing him snapping his friends in the retirement home. Age doesn’t matter :)

    Photographer Aspen CO: As a part-time pro myself, I do agree that rushing back to see how the photos look is very exciting… and we’re excited not because of the technical execution but seeing how the clients’ emotions got captured, and us imagining how THEY FELT right at that moment makes album making really rewarding.

    Emery: Annoying indeed, especially when you reach 10-18 years of age and your parents bring out your photos with weird poses, crying shots, etc. in front of your (girl/boy)friend! Hahaha… I’ll do my best not to do that to my son… I still use it as a threat sometime LOL… You’re right, it’s the stories and conversation that matters :)

    Ed: Wow, great story and thanks for sharing… I went to college in NH as well back in the mid 90s (SNHU) in Hooksett. I miss NH, such a pretty and serene place to be.

    Michael: Thanks for the kind words :) As much tech-snobbery we see on ‘serious’ photography forums, at the end of the day, the fact that photography makes people happy is the only reason we need to keep at it :)

    Ann: I’m sorry to hear your loss, Ann, but I’m glad that you found a creative and effective outlet to help you cope. What an inspiring story you shared :)

    Guys, I hope you don’t mind me ‘promoting’, I’d love to have you guys on my site (link in the bio box above).. I’m not a die-hard photography blogger and my main goal for the site is to connect to the simplicity and beauty of photography for the most part, and there’s nothing I’d love more than to be able to connect with more like-minded folks around the world.

    Thanks again for appreciating the article. :)

  14. David Pinales says:

    I am a Dallas fireman and work one day on and two days off. This allows me to be able to do a lot of things with my spare time but as with most firefighters, I have worked two jobs for most of my 26 years on the department. The last job I had was doing insurance exams for various insurance companies, the type you have done when you take out out personal life or health insurance. As part of my job doing these exams, I would get a blood and urine sample for lab testing. These companies want to insure you but they also want to make sure you are going to live a long time. These samples are called “a spotlight in time”.
    I prefaced with the above because as I think of what drives my passion in photography, I believe this is what I feel I am doing with my photos. I am capturing a “spotlight in time”. I am forever freezing a specific time in someone’s life or an event. As I have recently celebrated my 54th birthday, I can now testify that I truly believe in that saying that states how the days drag on but the years fly by. How great it is to be able to capture time that will never change. Our photos can bring back wonderful memories that bring us tears of joy, laughter and take us to places we have traveled in years past. Our photos can not only bring back visual memories but it allows us to taste that favorite birthday cake even though it was many years ago and smell the pines of a past camping trip. We can feel the cold splash of the river water and hear the thunderous sounds of the white water river float. We can feel the joy and happiness of children as they open that special Christmas gift that they hoped and prayed they would get. Our photos are not only a spotlight in time but also a preserving of tastes, smells and emotions. The power that I can have at my fingertips with one push of a shutter button is what I like so much about photography.

  15. Liam Jenkins says:

    I have always appreciated the art of photography yet never considered taking it up through a lack of belief in my ability.
    Then on May 27th 2011 I won 30 pounds on a scratch card and devloped an instant notion to scower around the second hand shops. It was as if it was ment to be as the first shop i went into i saw a kodak Z740 easy share camera (not that i knew anything about it) and bought it then and there. I was hooked, must have taken 100 photos in that same day.
    So over the next few months I was exploring the city (Edinburgh) that i have lived in for 11 years with new eyes and admiration. 4 months on and i now own a canon 550d, learning more and more and love every waking minute.
    Whilst i may have started late in the world of photography, i believe it came to me at a time when i needed it most, it has helped me through a really hard time in my life and i am forever gratefull for the wonders it brings.

  16. Liam Jenkins says:

    PS: Really enjoyed reading your story david, it’s refreshing to hear from like-minded people who share the same interests.

  17. Ed Law says:

    Liam, same camera, we call it T2i, but now you want to move on in to editing .. makes taking the pics so much more fun when they can be improved an altered to correct or enhance .

    In your location there is no end to the opportunities for providing diferent views of those who have also enjoyed such a wonderful city and surroundings.

    If you read my post way up above, you will see starting late is a relative matter.

    ed

  18. i enjoy reading a lot about photography and your blog is what i really enjoy reading. it keeps me so intact with the basic and the advance knowledge regarding photography. Though i’m a professional but i think it is always good to keep on reading. Thank You so much.

  19. Jeff says:

    My sentiments are similar to yours.

    During the early stages, newbies may wonder why photography is so important.

    The logical answer is, time changes things and our fickle minds forget how things were yesterday.

    The only way we can record what time has forgotten is to take a picture and look back to see how things were. Life happens in moving pictures.

    Photography lets you stop that and make it be still, if but for a moment.

  20. ramakant says:

    best thing about photography is you can take pictures with expensive cameras. And there is always a more expensive camera to buy.

  21. Wil says:

    I got started by being the “media central” for my family events. In addition to that, I’m the only guy in the family and the most technically inclined which made me the “go to” guy for everything. I try to go under the radar by it doesn’t work, haha. So being the “media central” for my family means that, I am the guy to take everybody’s pictures, take videos, put slideshows, and whatever you can think of.

    One day, I was scrolling through the pictures that I had taken and other pictures that my family took as well. For some wierd reason, it looked bland and lifeless. This when I started to look into the world of photography and an opportunity open up for me to get my very first DSLR.

    Excellent post David. Our brain is AMAZING. Not only photos make us flash back to our past, but certain key words can also do that. Good luck with your endeavors, I’m also doing the same with blogging and learning about photography.

  22. Ang says:

    Wonderful article! You truly captured the essence of the joy of photography no matter what skill level you are at. I used to dabble in photography but graduate school and then teaching took up my time. Now that I can focus on something else, I’m looking forward to getting back into it. My inspiration started in high school when I went abroad to study Spanish in the Dominican Republic. The places, the people, and the culture kept my camera and me interested. I remember coming home with 10 rolls of film, stoked to develop them. Now, I find myself using my phone to capture most of my images, which seems to do a good job, but has been more out of the convenience of having it on hand. I have forgotten how much I loved to use a camera and all the gadgetry that comes along with it. I am now looking into purchasing my a new DSLR. Your article has brought me back to that happy place that reminded me the joy of having photography as a hobby. Thank you:)

  23. alfred says:

    i like to photo place and scenery, but i don’t have an expensive camera i only use pocket camera. but, maybe later i will buy camera slr.

  24. SNAPSHUTTER says:

    I just started my photo blog site. Not to many pictures yet, but soon it will be filled.

  25. I really enjoy photography because there are so many avenues to explore. Not only are there tons of different types of photography, but the industry itself is constantly changing along the products, so it never gets old. It’s also a really fun activity that you can share with other people.

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