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May 08 2017
by Jessica Vuong

6 Benefits of Taking Up Photography During College

By Jessica Vuong - May 08 2017
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You might not think of it this way, but photography is a huge part of everyone's lives. We wake up in the morning, grab our phones and scroll through the endless updates on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Then we open up Snapchat and see what new filters are there for us to mess around with. Whether you're a professional photographer or you just love to take photos with your smartphone, photography has benefits for everyone. 

1. It makes you view the world differently.

First of all, you're literally looking at the world differently because you're seeing the world through different lenses. Second of all, taking photos requires you to be out and about so you're experiencing new things. With these two things in mind, taking up photography as a hobby or as your passion is extremely beneficial to the way you see the world and how the world ends up shaping you. 

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2. It gets your creative juices flowing.

Just like building an Instagram feed, photography requires creativity, which everyone does have. The key to being creative with your photography is to not overthink it. Simply experiment with your surroundings, different lenses, filters, angles, etc. Doing things that spark your creativity is not only beneficial to your mental health but improves your physical health as well. Studies found that exposure to the arts, which in this case would be photography, has positive effects on mental wellness and can improve physical conditions like Parkinson's disease. These studies also found that it doesn't take much to reap the benefits of creativity. Simply exposing yourself to mind-stimulating photography would be cognitively beneficial to you as well. So whether you're positing on your Instagram or simply scrolling through it, know that you're improving your cognitive functions.

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3. It's a means of nonverbal communication and is applicable in many industries.

Photography is actually a useful skill for a variety of professions, not just photography. According to Brian Reynolds, a communications professor from the University at Buffalo, much of the nonverbal cues studied in nonverbal communication are apparent in photography, which makes photography an excellent method of communicating thoughts and emotions. Photography can be applicable in many industries because it serves as a marketing strategy and affects the way you view the world.

For example, the photography accompanied by hard-hitting news from across the world will change the way you view the world in a second. If you see photos of cute puppies, you might feel better about your day. With that being said, photography is a powerful means of nonverbal communication that has the power to sway people's emotions and, while it is not often realized, is used in many non-photography-focused professions such as news, media, scientific research, you name it. 

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4. It can boost your mood.

This is great news for those of us who are guilty of taking 20 different selfies just to upload one good one. A study done at the University of California, Irvine found that taking selfies can actually improve your mood. The university had a group of college students take different types of photos throughout the day, including smiling selfies, photos of objects that made them happy or photos of people they love. Their moods were recorded throughout the day in relation to each photo and the conclusion has it that the students felt their mood improve as the day went on. Taking photos of people and things they love made them more self-reflective. Taking smiling selfies boosted their mood throughout their day. This study just proves that something as simple as a selfie (or 10 selfies if you're picky) can make you happier and more receptive to the things and people around you. 

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5. Mindful photography is good for your mental health.

You may have heard of mindfulness and meditation, but what is mindful photography? Mindful photography is a process of engaging in photography that requires you to be aware of the present moment you're in and capturing that moment. Similar to meditation, this method of photography allows you to focus on the process of taking photos, not just the outcome of the photo. Mindful photographers believe that mindful photography is beneficial to your mental health because it makes you examine your day-to-day life in a way that you normally wouldn't. So the next time you're taking photos, be in the moment and don't only focus on the outcome of the photo but on your creative process.

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6. It allows you to reminisce.

Photography, besides being something artsy to display to others, is something to look back on. If you stop and think about it, photography is actually a really powerful thing. You're capturing a moment in time and turning it into a tangible form. These memories, whether they're on your Instagram feed, on your wall as decor or piled up in a box, will let you go back and reminisce.

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Now that you know how photography can benefit your life, go out and take some selfies!

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Jessica Vuong - University of California, Davis

Jessica is currently attending UC Davis and majoring in Managerial Economics. She was vice-president of teensReach, a community service organization, and has competed in several SJPL art & design contests. She loves coffee, sarcasm, and rainy weather. Follow her on instagram: @jsscvng | pinterest: jessvjess | VSCO: jessvjess

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