Month: December 2018

Photography for mental health

I’m part of a few photography groups and the most common questions I see are:

    • What kind of camera should I get?
    • What kind of lens should I buy for xyz?
    • What editing program should I use?

While these are important questions, I love the more interesting questions like what’s someone’s motivation for getting into photography? Why do they take pictures? What makes them want to take that particular picture? What do they think of their own photo?

I wanted to get a more interesting conversation going and decided to ask the group how photography has impacted their lives. While I got some sarcastic responses (“I’m more broke!”),  I saw lots of really interesting answers which I’d love to explore more at a later time. But one of the common responses I saw that stuck out for me were the folks who said photography has helped them with their anxiety, depression, etc.

I later came across these two TedTalks by Ryan Pfluger and Bryce Evans where they talk about how got into photography and how it became therapeutic for them in dealing with their own mental health.

While anxiety, depression, suicide, etc., is not something I personally struggle with, reading the responses in the forum and watching the videos made me sad in knowing how much others struggle with mental health all the time. But it also showed me how powerful art and being creative with a camera can be for people. It can change a person’s perspective on life and the world around them. Taking a picture may not seem like a big deal, but for some, it can save their lives.

I hope you find their stories inspiring too!

Stuck at home.

Earlier this year, I fell down a flight of stairs which majorly sucked. To everyone’s surprise, including me, I didn’t break anything or injure myself too bad apart from a nasty laceration on my right shin. I’d never been immobile in my life. It was hard to just sit at home and rest and not be able to walk very far except around my apartment to go to the bathroom, kitchen or to bed.  I couldn’t be on my feet for very long due to needing to elevate my leg all the time.

Needless to say, staying inside was giving me serious cabin fever. It reminded me of how much I take being able to walk for granted. I really wanted to go outside and take pictures and just walk, but I couldn’t. I wanted to take photos but I couldn’t just get up and go outside.

So what did I do? I realized I didn’t need to leave my apartment to take photos.

​It made me think about how easily we can forget about photographing our everyday surroundings. Maybe it’s because we’re immersed in it all the time. Maybe it’s because why would I want to take a picture of my kitchen? How boring, right? Wrong!

The cool thing about photographing your home is how can you make the everyday look interesting. What if you put your camera (or phone) on auto and took pictures of everyday things in your home?

Here are some ideas if you’re stuck at home and want to take some pictures.

    • The bathroom sink and/or toilet
    • Your favorite piece of art
    • The plants on your window sill
    • The pillows on the sofa
    • Your favorite books on the shelf
    • The inside of your refrigerator
    • The inside of one of your kitchen cabinets
    • Your coffee table
    • Something you collect
    • Your fireplace mantle
    • Your entryway​

There are endless things you can photograph in your own home. Experiment too with the time of day as how something looks can change during the day.

In short, there’s no excuse of why you can’t take photos even if you’re stuck at home. This time of year is perfect since the weather can make us feel more like retreating inside. And if you need a chance of scenery, go to someone else’s house and photograph their space! You never know what you’ll find.

Adventures at the SFMOMA

I finally was able to meet up with Kim this past weekend for one of our well overdue photo shoots.

The last time we did a photo shoot was back in winter of 2017.

When we usually meet up, he’ll bring a few outfits and we’ll pick an area to explore in SF (usually) and have fun taking photos.

I used to joke all the time that I didn’t know what I was doing and in some ways, I still feel that way. I’m certainly no expert when it comes to photographing people as it’s not my usual thing, but I go out with the intention to have fun and know I’ll likely get a few photos I like.

Thankfully, the SFMOMA where we went had amazing lighting so it played in my favor for most photos. Below are a few of my favorite photos.

One of my big takeaways after our afternoon on Sunday was that while I took plenty of not so great photos that turned out blurry, too dark, too light, etc., was that we had a lot of fun. To me, even if I didn’t get any photos I liked, I had a lot of fun exploring, trying out new angles, looking for what I think might be a good shot, etc. In the end, it’s all an experiment. Sometimes things workout well and other times, meh, not so great. If I go in with the idea that it’ll be fun, most of the time it will be.

Next time you go out and shoot, experiment and have a fun. Don’t think so much about the end product but enjoy the process of exploring the world with your camera, even if it’s with your phone.

Big thanks to Kim for always being up for fashion photo shoot adventures and being my model! You’re awesome!