I always wish I had more time to do the things I love, and I’m sure that I’m not alone. It can be easy as a hobbyist to suddenly realise that you’ve not picked up your camera for a few weeks, let alone shot anything you love. To be honest sometimes this happens to me too – being primarily an academic and a journalist means that sometimes I let my photography slip.
This always makes me unhappy. I know that if I’m feeling a bit down it’s probably because I’ve not exercised my photographic creative muscles recently enough. So I want to share with you how I make time for photography.
Schedule In Time
What I found really helpful was to schedule in time to actually take photos. It sounds like a bit of a regimented approach but it works for me! Even though I work freelance from home I have a schedule of how I spend my time on a “default” week. It has time for pitching ideas to magazines, writing articles, managing my social media, doing my accounts… and time for taking photos!
It seems like it shouldn’t have to be scheduled in for a photography journalist to take pictures. However I have to remember that I enjoy taking photos for the sheer joy of it as well as for business. If I forget to take the photos that make me happy then it reflects in my work. Plus the kind of photos that make me happy also often serve as the foundation for many of the articles I write. It’s good for business too.
Work Out What You Enjoy
Since I’m really into still life at the moment I sat down and worked out where I could fit shooting still life into my schedule. To make a plan I considered what time the light was at its absolute best in my studio. Then I scheduled in an hour twice a week at that time (ten o’clock in the morning) to shoot still life images just for pleasure with no expectation.
Mid-morning probably won’t work for you if you have a full time job with regular weekday hours. But it might help to set aside a few hours in the evening once a week to learn something new or plan what you’re going to shoot over the next few weekends.
Take Your Camera Everywhere
I mean it when I say it. Take it everywhere. You never know what you’re going to see when you pop to the shops or drive to work. The shot above shows a new Foster + Partners development on Albert Embankment in London. I photographed the scene as I wandered from the Tate Britain to Westminster while waiting for the gallery to open.
I didn’t know what I would find, but I knew that I would see something worth photographing. Looking across a grubby River Thames I saw the beautiful colours of the building positively glowing in the overcast March light.
The key to taking your camera everywhere is investing in the right gear. Firstly you need the right camera. Taking my old Canon dSLR everywhere wasn’t really an option. It was big and heavy. It meant that I couldn’t carry that and a decent sized textbook or a few notebooks. I go to a fair amount of art galleries. You can’t just wander around them with big camera backpacks (plus you can’t easily get your camera out if it’s packed away on your back).
Could Changing Your Gear Help?
About eighteen months ago I changed systems to the Fujifilm mirrorless camera range. It made a huge difference to the kind of photographs I took, the volume of photographs I took, and ultimately the quality of photographs I took. I became more adventurous. I took my camera more places because it was lighter and smaller. And I just tried out, somewhat fearlessly, kinds of photography that I had not tried before.
Don’t forget to get a good bag too. I favour a sling bag with a zip on the top. It’s easier to open it up to rummage around and grab your camera. It also looks like a handbag so it doesn’t draw attention when I’m wandering around alone in the big city. This is good when you have a few grands worth of very desirable camera kit!
However you work it into your lifestyle you need to make sure that you do make time to work on your photographic practice. It’s only be continually taking photos, learning, and looking at other peoples images that we improve as photographers.
If you’d like another perspective on making time for photography, Melinda Smith blogged about this exact subject over at Digital Photography School. Go and check it out!
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