Along with writing, photography is one of the hobbies that’s been in my life for the longest time. It’s a comprehensive skill on its own, having me learn about composition, light, color theory, and much more. But it has also taught me other skills, those that I can apply in my daily life. So, I bring you seven essential life skills that I learned from photography. I’ve mastered some of them, and I’m still learning the others. But all of them have improved both me as a human and the quality of my life.
Here’s one of the skills I’m still trying to master in some areas of my life. I can sometimes be very impatient; I want it all, and I want it now. But photography, especially film, has taught me to be patient in many situations.
When I shoot, I don’t “spray and pray.” I don’t rush in. I take my time to find a good composition, which usually pays off. Waiting to get the developed film from a lab is another experience that has immensely trained my patience.
This kind of patience has transferred to many other things over the years. In the last few years, I started painting, drawing, embroidery, and learning German, and I’ve applied the recipe I learned from film photography – be patient. These new hobbies and skills I mentioned take me to another life skill I learned from photography:
2. Enjoying the journey, not just the destination
Impatient as I can be, I can’t wait to see the results of something I work on. But as seen in my comet Neowise adventure, I’ve finally learned to enjoy the process, not just the end result. When I embroider, draw or paint, I love seeing how a picture slowly develops under my fingers. Embroidery is especially time-consuming and takes a lot of patience to finish a piece, but I truly love the process just as much as I do the finished work. And loving the finished work and the process is connected with the next big lesson I learned:
3. Progress takes time
I don’t consider myself to be the best photographer in the world. Far from it, in fact. But my old work makes me cringe, so I guess I’ve made progress in these 12-13 years after all, right? The same goes for everything I do. Thanks to my gradual exploration and improvement in photography, I learned that progress and success take a lot of time. So, I’m patient, and I enjoy the process in many things I do daily: cooking, arts & crafts, physical activity. I realize that there’s no shortcut or “magic pill” for most things in life, so I simply enjoy the journey and take my time.
4. Change the angle or change your position
If one angle doesn’t work, you can always search for one that will. This works for photography, but I often remind myself of it in many life situations. If you don’t like where you stand – move. If your angle doesn’t work, try changing it. Literally and figuratively. So, that’s what I do. It’s not as easy as when you take photos, of course, but it’s essential for a happy life.
5. Be present and notice the world around you
This is a skill I learned very shortly after getting hooked on photography. Thankfully, it hasn’t left me for all these years. Photography has taught me how and where to look for interesting shots. But most importantly – it has taught me to be present in the moment and the real world around me, not in the dark world that exists within me. Thanks to photography, I notice the beauty around me, and it’s a handy skill to have and use daily. It makes life more beautiful.
6. There’s always room for improvement
I learned with age that almost nothing is set in stone (thankfully!), but I also learned it from photography. If you’re not perfectly pleased, you can always fix it in post. :) In other words, there’s always room for improvement, at least a bit of it!
The best real-life example of this is me moving and decorating my flat. I moved home last weekend (again!). I love this flat, but there were some things I could “fix in post.” I patched the nail holes with real-life Clone Stamp Tool, I made myself a workspace and a dedicated desk for arts & crafts, I bought a few knick-knacks I really like… And now I love this place even more.
7. You can’t control everything, but you can make the best out of the given situation
Being a bit of a control-freak, this is something I’m still learning. But I think I’ve come a long way. For example, I can’t control the weather and have those perfect fluffy clouds whenever I travel and shoot. But I can make the best of the ugly grey skies that Mother Nature gives me. Photography has taught me to “adapt, improvise, overcome” and to make the best out of a given situation instead of lamenting over it.
I’m pretty sure there are other life skills e can learn as photographers and apply to our daily lives, our jobs, and our hobbies. So, I’d like to hear from you: what life skills did you learn from photography?