So many times people ask me to take their photos with their smartphones. They ask me what pose or location would look like for a nice photo for their Instagram or Facebook page.
I don’t mind doing this at all. I direct them a bit, tell them to move over, look up, look down, whatever I think is best to get a good shot of them. Then I snap the photo for them and hand them back their phone.
One time I shot my friend and his banana yellow car. It was many years ago and before the days of Instagram but I do remember it was a BMW. He was really proud of the car and he had been working out lately, so it was a man and his machine photoshoot. He was happy with the medium format images I gave him and he paid me with beer and pizza.
Another time I set up a chair in my partner’s garden that was in full bloom and hosted a BBQ. My family came over and some friends. I took this awesome photo of Monica. Her smile just lights up the photograph.
Then there are times when I take snaps of my family, take photos of cute mushrooms, or even photograph nude models.
I do this because it makes me happy.
The act of taking a photograph is a little slice of happiness. It’s a shot of dopamine into all the pleasure centers of our minds. It’s no wonder we live for the “likes” and “hearts” on social media. We crave the validation that we matter.
When you make a photograph you are working to make a slice of your happiness. Sometimes your happiness and what the world thinks is happiness don’t coincide.
There are so many times when I make a photograph and think that this is a great photograph, and the world laughs at my pitiful attempt.
Other times you make a half-assed shot and the world goes crazy and loves it. You end up getting on Flickr’s Explore or ride 500px to the top of the heap.
Ultimately I look at my photography as therapy for all the crazy thoughts that run around in my head. It’s my watering hole, my sounding board, my way to deal with the trauma of life. I make photos that make me happy first.
That’s what you should do, make photos that delight you. Make photos that make you want to sing. Make photos that make you happy first.
Then share them with the world and let the chips fall where they may.