The ever-handy smartphone has allowed almost anyone to be a photographer. This device has allowed us to capture memorable aspects of our lives and see the world in ways we never thought of before. While some people believe that taking photos doesn’t help us to understand the world, science has proven that the benefits of photography are many.

So, why should we put in the effort to capture the memorable moments of our lives in photographs? Let us explain.

Science shows that one of the benefits of photography is happiness

1. Experiments by Kristin Diehl

There is a myth that a camera’s lens prevents us from experiencing reality. Kristin Diehl thought otherwise. The professor at the University of Southern California, USA, conducted a battery of tests to examine the emotions of enthusiastic photographers.

She revealed in her paperHow Taking Photos Increases the enjoyment of experiences” that taking photographs does indeed make people happy.

Her tests revealed that photography allows people to see the world differently. It forces them to pay attention to their experiences and consequently gets them to be more engaged with it. Taking photographs enabled them to become fully immersed in it and recall the event.

One of her experiments was with a group of Philadelphia tourists. One group of subjects had to take photos with their smartphones while the other didn’t record any images. Of course, people from the former group enjoyed the experience more than the latter.

2. Other Research

Other studies have similar findings. One published in the Psychology of Well-being shows how smartphone photography can improve positive affect. The study involved 41 participants who had to photograph themselves being happy or objects that brought them happiness. Photography and its benefits were many, including that of stress relief and increased personal reflection.

So, what are the other benefits of photography?

1. Feeling of Permanence

Feeling that something is permanent gives us security. Photographs allow us to immortalise our experiences. How else would your progeny remember you? Just looking at photos of our grandparents brings back a wealth of memories. Seeing how they looked so long ago draws gasps of thrill and surprise. It also makes us feel that we can carry a part of the past with us forever.

Furthermore, photography captures personal communication that would be otherwise lost. Looking at a grown-up child when he or she was young is a once in a lifetime experience.

2. Creativity creates a sense of pride.

Knowing that we’ve created something ourselves gives us a sense of pride and achievement. Creativity enables human beings to feel fulfilled and engages us in profound ways. That’s why it’s one of photography’s most significant benefits for our mental health.

3. Stress Relief

Like all hobbies, photography allows us to relieve our pent-up frustrations. Capturing the times your pet makes you laugh lets you forget that you’ve got an impossible deadline to meet.

Looking at the majestic mountain that you photographed while on holiday soothes the soul. Gazing at a gurgling baby makes us laugh ourselves. It lets us forget that our bosses just tightened budgets at work. Repeating the process of taking photographs is excellent for health.

4. Prevents isolation

Photography gives us an excuse to get outside. Just the act of going out of the home prevents social isolation and reminds us that we must interact with others.



Studies show that social isolation affects older adults negatively. It compromises health and mortality. Getting out to calm ourselves and take a few pictures allows us to feel that we aren’t so alone.

5. Photography allows us to realise our passions.

Photography is an excellent career for anyone passionate about it. We all know that love equals happiness. Photography, like any other passion, releases endorphins in the brain and creates a sense of satisfaction.

6. Photography gives us the chance to exercise.

Photography is the ideal tool for those of us for whom exercise isn’t fun. We will get the workouts we need because we have to move around to capture our subjects. Research by Stanford backs this up. Researchers found that walking stimulates creative thinking. And you have it – the perfect reason for a photo stroll.

7. Photographs prompt the imagination.

Pictures inspire creativity and a host of new ideas. It helps to stimulate thought processes. Our creative mind awakens and we come up with creative poses. It prompts us to come up with new, engaging ways to present materials.

8. Boosts Self-Esteem

There’s no denying the look on a person’s face when he or she manages to take fetching photographs. It’s why so many of us take pride in the image stories that we share online. Nothing beats the feeling of being told that one looks photogenic, or that a sure backdrop looks eye-catching. Photography inspired self-confidence.

9. Photography keeps us positive.

Negativity creeps up on us always these days, so we must find ways to combat the toxicity. One is to use photography. It affords a positive outlook on life and prompts us to see the beauty in everything. As Louis Armstrong famously sang, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” There is upbeat energy when people pose for photos.



10. Photography communicates

Words get in the way at times, so we need a way to express our innermost thoughts. Photography is a way for us to demonstrate our deepest feelings. When we want to share our innermost thoughts with others, we do so with a picture.

It captures details that we may not have recalled earlier. It tells messages that we may find it hard to send with words. Photography lets others know our innermost thoughts. It provides a way for us to be completely honest with others.

It also allows us to validate our emotions and to know that whatever we feel is essential. If you want to know what a person values most in life, look at what he photographs.

11. Photography heals wounds

As we look at ways to improve the quality of our photographs, we realise that all it takes for is to improve our situations is a shift in perspective. Photography heals hurts and allows us to find new meaning in our lives. It allows us to see the positive in all things negative.

Research has proven the healing power of photographs. The researchers at Lancaster University discovered that photography had the benefits of well-being and improved health. People who took photos were inclined to self-care and social interaction.

Another study showed that art helped patients to focus on the good in life and prevented their preoccupation with their illnesses.

How can we use photographs to improve our lives?

friends photo

We know that photography has a host of benefits, but how do we harness them? Try these simple suggestions.

1. Start a photo diary

We can start a photo diary to recall the significant moments of our lives. That includes taking photos of the food we eat and the clothes we wear. Perhaps someone will draw inspiration from the images we post and start us on the course of being food bloggers.

2. Enhance your photos

You can use a pic background change app or other tools that enable a little picture and video fun. We can use them to our hair a flaming orange or give them haircuts. While we may not want to become professional bloggers,  we can relieve some stress.

3. Chase the blues away with a selfie

Many of us believe that taking photographs of ourselves is a worthless pastime. There are just as many of us who disagree. Taking photos of ourselves removes our insecurities and hence, depression. We realise that we don’t look as bad as we feared.

In all, there are endless benefits to photography. If you don’t believe this use a smartphone and take a picture of yourself. It may change your mind.

Michelle Liew, B.A.

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