Choosing Photography Spaces for Good Mental Health

I don’t know about you, but I feel that as a photographer light is really important to me. It’s so important to me that when we rented our house one of the first things that we considered. We had to have great light in as many rooms as possible.

A self-portrait shot in my studio using just natural light.

We ended up renting a beautiful Victorian townhouse with polychromatic brickwork. Most importantly it has big bay windows in two of the rooms. In the mornings these east-facing windows invite in the most incredible light. It has a quality beyond anything that we expected.

I regularly photograph in my studio space. Is the first-floor room with the bay window, with nothing more than this available light. It is just the most wonderful space, even on a dull and overcast day.

At this point, the only thing I would change would be to ask our landlord if we could have double glazed windows instead of the single panes we currently have.

It’s not just about photography

Good light in my home is important to me for more reasons than just photography. It’s about keeping my mental health in great condition too.

Some days I think I’m a bit like a plant. I need good light, and lots of it, in order for my mental health to function well. I grew up in a Victorian gardeners cottage with multiple huge sash windows in almost every room. Clearly whoever it was built for absolutely adored allowing the light into their home.

My light-filled studio – mostly the same now, but with more plants!

And the townhouse I live in now is really no different. It has big sash bay windows at the front, and ordinary huge sash windows at the back. These Victorians weren’t afraid of the heating bills!

We probably all realise that good lighting can make a real difference to your physical health. Things like eye-strain and headaches can be helped with good lighting in the workplace and at home. But it’s less often that the mental health benefits are talked about.

I’m entirely sure that having big windows and lovely light in my home improves my mood overall. I think it helps me tackle things like stress and low-level anxiety. This is especially important now I’m working towards my PhD!

A lack of good light in your home can result in conditions such as S.A.D. – seasonal affective disorder. And we should be thinking about that here in the UK during the winter as our days get shorter and darker.

Photographers and other creative professions can be hit hard by the lack of light during the winter. Many of us work from home and spend long days at a computer or in a dark studio. Often without heading outside during the day. That makes it doubly important to consider how we light our homes and the difference it might make to our mental and physical wellbeing.

Renting a property with great natural light was important for more reasons than just taking photographs. It was vital for keeping my mental health in good condition too.