6 Ways to Use Photography for Mental Health Stability

We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify!

2020 put pressure on everyone’s mental health. Loneliness, depression, anxiety – they all showed up big time. People choose to medicate in different ways, some healthy, and some not so much. But as photographers, we already have the best form of medication in our hands: our cameras. If you’re at a loss as to how you can use photography for mental health improvements, we’ve got some tips below.

It’s not just 2020 that’s pushed photographers to use photography for mental health improvement. We’ve featured many artists over the years who have turned to their creativity to overcome things like PTSD, depression, and loneliness. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that photography can help a person come out of their darkness. Let’s take a look at how that works in a practical sense.

Photography for Mental Health / Photo Walks

Photowalking is a fantastic option for using photography for mental health and healing. For starters, it gets you moving. When people feel down, they don’t always feel up to doing tasks that involve exercise. Going to the gym seems too obvious, and people avoid it. But with photo walking, your focus is on making pictures; the movement is something you do in the background. Photo walks are also a good way to be part of a community. Going out in groups helps you avoid isolating – something that’s never good if you’re struggling.

Photography for Mental Health / Self Portraits

In moments of depression or any other mental condition, self-esteem can take a hammering. It’s never nice to think negatively about yourself. By creating some self-portraits, you can encourage yourself to pick out something you like about your appearance. When making the image and then editing it, you’re paying more attention to yourself, allowing yourself to connect to something positive, and in turn give yourself a much-needed confidence boost.

Photography for Mental Health / Project

Whatever is troubling you, you must find time to take your mind away from it. We’re not saying you should push it away, but you don’t want to be in a situation where it’s consuming you. Creating a goal, such as a short or long term photography project, can give you something to invest in. Having a photo focus should return you to a much more proactive state of mind and provide a sense of achievement and pride as you create and complete it.

Photography for Mental Health / Portraits of Love Ones

If you want to feel better and use photography for mental health happiness, taking photos of loved ones is a good way to achieve that. Again, when we feel down, we can isolate ourselves. But it’s those closest to us that can elevate us back to where we want to be. Making portraits of them helps build connection. Firstly, it allows you to make other people feel good about themselves. And secondly, it should give you a feeling of gratitude as you appreciate the people in your life.

Photography for Mental Health / Travel

If you have the budget for it, we strongly suggest you use photography as a reason to travel. A change of environment can do a world of good, especially if you’re feeling down. It can take your mind off of anything that’s happening back home. You also feel the excitement of exploring new lands and creating images as positive memories. And when you return home, if your mental struggle continues, take a look at the photos as a moment of positive reflection. It will help take your mind off things.

Photography for Mental Health / Connect to Nature

Most of us live busy lives. And almost all of us spend too much time in the digital world. The earth is still a beautiful place, even if social media apps would prefer you look at them instead. Take a camera, go out into nature, and connect to how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful space. It can arouse a feeling of gratitude.

Free Yourself

We know how tough it can be when struggling with mental health. The staff here at The Phoblographer have experienced our own darknesses. For many of us, photography has been a wonderful tool to help heal our wounds. While photography may not be the only solution to healing pain, it can certainly contribute.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host professional photographers within the industry.