“I wish I had time to shoot more.” is something of a refrain among those who lament the state of things. Whether it’s work, family, or otherwise, life has a habit of getting in the way, making valuable time with the camera a fleeting concept. Photography isn’t always a viable career option, but you don’t need to be working as a photographer in order to produce good work. When photography isn’t your main gig, it can be difficult to set aside valuable time in between all of life’s obligations. Yet, the time spent bemoaning the lack of time could really be spent figuring out ways in which you can shoot more.
Take an appraisal of your daily routine. How much of everything you do each day is absolutely necessary? What can you take out that won’t derail life? The only way to have time to shoot more is to actually make that time. We all have creature comforts, those pastimes that we often get lost in. For me, it’s Netflix, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. It isn’t always a necessity, and by cutting back on it, I could free up time to be shooting outside.
Photography can sometimes suffer the same fate that weight loss does with every batch of New Year’s resolutions. We want to do it. Some of us need to do it. The fervor that comes with a fresh start often wanes as days become weeks become months. By the time July rolls around, we’re going to the beach with our shirts on, and we’ve got very few photos. That’s just the way it is, yeah?
It certainly doesn’t have to be, and the best way to start is to keep a camera with you, whether it’s your phone or something more powerful. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. How do you commute to work? Bus? Train? Walking? How do you spend that time? Rather than slide in your earphones and tune out the world, why not use your daily commute as a photographic playground? Public transportation is a prime place for photographs, and it’s a good place to practice. Moreover, it’s a good way to weave photography into your daily routine if you find that you can’t carve out extra time each day.
If you can, however, carve out time, give yourself projects that will allow you to make the photographs you’ve been wanting to make. It could be experimenting with portrait techniques on friends. It could be taking a walk through other parts of town. It could be any number of things. The important thing is to make a concerted effort to practice more. The images may not amount to anything, and they don’t have to. Work through your ideas, and you’ll find that your photography is all the better for it.