Can Photography Become an Addiction? - Digital Photography School
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Can Photography Become an Addiction?

My name is Valérie and I am a photographer…

I do it for a living, I do it on my breaks, days off, vacation… Sometimes I wonder if I ever have a day off or if I have a job. Is addiction one of the job hazards? Should it be added to the list of things to seriously consider when you’re thinking of turning pro? Or is it simply pure happiness?

It wasn’t always this way for me. Actually, for those of you who have read some of my articles, I almost quit photography a few years ago. I had almost lost the passion for the craft. It is definitely one of the dangers of turning pro in any profession that starts as a hobby. Once it becomes a job and you shoot for clients anything can quickly become mundane and turn into a chore. You soon forget your camera at home on your days off, you don’t feel like spending any more time on front of you computer than you have to, etc. I know, I’ve been there!

You may be wondering how my situation made a 180 degree turn. It wasn’t just one thing or one person, but a series of events that triggered other events. It all started with sharing my work and ideas with the photography community and working on personal projects alongside my professional work. The more I spent making pictures or talking about photography with others, the more passionate I became about it.

I find something interesting to photograph everywhere. I cannot live without my camera!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are running your own business and dealing with personal life, family obligations, etc. We all have perfectly legitimate excuses to refrain ourselves from doing more work… I made it one of my top priorities and I found the time. I not only love shooting, I also enjoy writing about photography, sharing ideas and tips with other photographers of all levels. It’s part of the package and it’s the most satisfying job in the world!  Although I do specialize in my commercial photography work (I shoot mostly food and interiors), I feel like the sky is the limit when I shoot for personal projects. I’ll do street photography one day and macro in nature the next. The world is a beautiful place and I want to see it all through my lens.

My camera is an extension of me. I feel restless if one or two days go by without shooting. Is it always a good thing? No… The rest of my family has little interest in photography. They support me in their own way but they don’t share my passion for it and I don’t expect them to. I know they often roll their eyes when I get excited about a moment I just captured or when I can’t sit still at dinner because I am missing the perfect light outside. It’s all about compromising. I do leave my camera behind once in a while, when it’s a special family time. But when I need a day to myself to do a photo walk or meet with other photographer friends, I take it and it feels great! It can be a pretty lonely hobby or job, and some people enjoy that solitude. I’m a ‘people person’ and there is no greater satisfaction than being with people who share your passion and your vision.

The world is a beautiful place and I want to see it all through my lens.

The goal of this article is to open a discussion. Are you addicted to photography? Please share your thoughts and experience.

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Valerie Jardin I live and breathe in pixels! Photography is more than a passion, it's an obsession, almost an addiction. I am pleased to be a new master of street photography at The Arcanum. When I'm not shooting or writing, I spend my time teaching this beautiful craft during photo workshops all over the world! Visit my Website Follow me on Facebook , Twitter , Google+.

  • http://digitalscrapbooklessons.com PatriciaD

    Totally addicted though don’t have the money to indulge too much. I was finally able to buy my first DSLR about a year ago, recently got an off camera flash, a really good tripod and a backpack to carry all of it and my laptop. I LOVE it beyond a whole lot of things but my family seriously gets tired of it.

    I still want to shoot myself occasionally when I don’t have my camera though. Stumbled upon two moose on my property tonight (clearing to build my cabin) but they ran off and I didn’t have my camera in hand. I’d just left it in the car seconds before. Argh!!

  • sookie

    hi valerie,

    Yes it’s addicting.. can you teach me some techniques anyway..

  • Bill Spanier

    Yes, I would say I am addicted to photograhy. I take my camera to work everyday and on my days off, my camera bag is with me. I have three kids and enjoy photographing them playing sports but there is always something other than my children that catches my eye and will need to photograph it. I enjoy nature and landscapes. I have camera in tow and when I see it, I capture it. My kids tease me and say, “Hey Dad, look a tree why don’t you photograph that or a blade of grass” So, yeah….I am addicted and couldn’t be happier.

  • ArturoMM

    Everything I like becomes addictive.

  • KSam

    I may not use the addiction, but attached is much better. Especially, digital or DSLR came out. We do not have to worry about processing and developing fees. Trying out different f-stop and shutter settings are not that costly. Now I try different ASA. This is fun.
    Have a good picture taking day.

  • http://open-window.typepad.com Claudia

    It is addictive and even more so now that we’re in a digital world – we can experiment to our heart’s content with little consequence or cost – just a much improved learning curve. For one who is an “immediate gratification” kind of person and one who loves to learn, photography these days is immensely satisfying.

  • Abegail

    Hi Valerie! I really like photography and I am so into it, I can even relate to your experiences you have shared above. For me, it’s all right to be addicted to photography. It’s not a sin or whatever but a talent that you just want to share with everyone and a way to show how beautifully God made everything on earth.

  • Jenny

    I just started photographing my grand kids seriously this past year. I am defiantly an addict! My camera goes everywhere with me.I am constantly looking for the perfect lighting and the perfect shot.I love looking at others photos for ideas and am thinking about up-sizing to a better camera.Every new day excites me it is another opportunity to take photos.I am not a professional, but have the new found passion.

  • Denise

    :) hmmm photography addiction! I’d say I am totally addicted!!! My husband bought me a camera two years ago and I haven’t put it down since! In-fact just two months ago things began to happen very quickly for me in the photography world! I had people approach me to do weddings (eeeeks!) and now personal couple shoots, baby shoots and model shoots! To think it started off with wanting to capture mother earth in all it’s glory! I was an artist first.. painting/drawing and now I’m so happy with my camera! I have soooo much to learn, I still don’t know everything about my camera or the technical jargon, but I’m learning slowly! I’m beyond addicted, I’m in LOVE! :)

    Happy snapping guys! Great article! :)

  • http://www.perezstudios.com Perez Studios

    I believe it can become an addiction but it is also an easy one to overcome too.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • http://d90dewey.com dewey

    It’s not an addiction I would ever want to “overcome”…..

  • http://www.whitepetal.co.uk Paul

    Definitly yes and I have the gold boxes stacked up to prove it!

  • http://gregaitkenheadphotography.com Greg Aitkenhead

    Nikon nerd!

  • http://buddharocks.deviantart.com/gallery Eric ‘Bubba’ Alder

    Boy, can I relate to a LOT of this, especially the part about nobody in the family having any particular interest in photography. I almost always have my camera handy at family gatherings and have become our unofficial family photographer. (If I happen to leave my camera home people ask “Where’s you camera?”)

    My wife and son often get exasperated when I stop to take a shot while we’re out and about, although they have grown a bit more tolerant over time. I’ve found it helps to walk ahead when I see something interesting, so I don’t always have to play catch up.

    A few people have told me I should become a professional, but I couldn’t see that happening unless I was able do it completely on my own terms and still make a decent living at it. But one thing is for sure: I’d never even consider it if it wasn’t for digital cameras and Photoshop.

  • Naik

    Photography and addition to it ?? Yeh, I am Naik Mohammad Azamy from western Afghanistan. I am the head of an organization.
    I should say that I am addicted. I loved photography from very past but 3 years ago I was to the US and bought a CANON camera. I took over 3000 from which some are great. Last year I got a canon 550 D which is prefectly working for me with an extra lense 55 – 250. I am based in remote area from the city and on weekends I am coming home. I am taking plenty of photos from my children, parties and nature.

    The bad thing which is disturbing me is that, traditionally it doesnt look suitable for me (a 40 years old man and head of an organization) to have always camera with me and take photos. I enjoy and love some of the photos I take and becoming sad while missing a point of shot. Among the staff and friends I am famous for that and even in some occasions they are asking me to participate and take photos (but not for a business).

    If I dont take photos for some days, I feel thirsty of shoting and by having my camera I start to find the subject which can be any thing to me.

  • http://newbellaboudoir.com/ Boudoir Photography

    I’m way beyond addicted LOL

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/adityanangia/ Aditya Nangia

    Nice Article… ,
    I understand.. :-)

  • Explorer

    This may seem ridiculous, but it’s still the reality I’ve never got my hands on my own pro-cam yet, i just tried my friend’s cam and suddenly i found myself obsessed with photographing. i sleep thinking of it and wake up dreaming of it i even look around me imagining poses and light situations, how to take a great pic and all so I’ve now ordered mine and I’m waiting I Felt like I’m addicted to photographing even before i grasp thee real deal but non of my friends nor family understand this feeling..

  • tanya

    yes i would say im totally addicted..if i miss out on a perfect shot i get mad at myself for not having my camera with me or i have to charge it..i LOVE taking pictures of nature i have 1 son and i have tons and tons of pictures of him growing up..i have 2 uncles that are professional photographers and i think im following in there foot steps..i dont know alot about cameras though..im wondering if i should go to school for photography..

  • http://life501.blogspot.com Rachel

    HI, I found ur article very interesting. My husband and I were in therapy yesterday and she noted that my love of photography and urban exploration was an addiction. I only take photographs about once a week maybe twice time permitting. I don’t get the opportunity everyday, I don’t have the time.

    In answer to ur question, I don’t think photography is an addiction unless it’s to the point of being like drug or alcohol use.

    Her response to my question, “Does this mean photographers are addicts?” was to do photography in moderation, once in a while. My once a week is too much. According to her philosophy.

    Honestly, this means every person in society(especially those who have hobbies) are addicted.

    I asked a friend about this and he relates photography as therapy. I don’t really think there is a right answer to this question.

    My blog http://haunted505.blogspot.com

  • https://www.facebook.com/streetphotogallery Sean Bodin

    Ohhh yes, I’ve always have camera with me! I get abstinence if I do not have!

  • http://www.thirstyphotographer.com Cheryl P

    I don’t call it an addiction, I call it my PASSION. I can’t imagine my life without my camera, my pictures, and without constantly feeding my passion. I enjoyed 2 years in college doing a Photography program, getting straight A’s, because it naturally became my passion and I wanted to do well because I really wanted to perfect my craft. It allows me to express myself, to capture amazing moments, that not only will be a memory in my mind, but I’m able to freeze time with photography. Being a wedding photographer/baby photographer/portrait photographer is the most fulfilling career I’ve ever known, and I’ve been going 7 years strong running my business and it has yet to ‘grow old’ for me. A lot of people have often said, “You take so many photos”, “Oh…there she goes again with her camera – always has to take a photo, and can’t live in the moment”, so what! This is how I like to live in the moment – at least I will be able to look back on that moment and remember it and be able to SEE IT I wish there were less judgmental people in the world who could appreciate that THIS is who I am. I think it’s an excellent form of THERAPY, and an excellent way to tap into one’s creativity. The world needs more photographers to capture how life really is, and the world around us.

  • zack

    this artical sound very much like my life exept the working part of photography. i belive that i do have a addiction to photography and ive also been tolled that its a good thing at such a young age of 15 because i can then make alot of progress through my life. when i am just abouts to have my tea i always see the perfect lighting to get out and take pictures in but i never get the chance. i love the days when i tell my parents i am having a full day out with my firends to go out taking pictures. aslong as i have my bridge camera or a DSLR on me at the time i will be taking pictures. i mainly like to go out and sit dow just waiting for a good picture to apear in a good area because it gives me time alone and i think personally thats another reason i like photography, because no one can stop me from doing what i love and once you have all the equipment you need the rest is free and fun.

  • Darren

    I’m 40 years old, and after working 18 hour days in my online business which was my life for 20 years, I retired… I spent 6 months totally board out of my mind, until watching a documentary on photography… The next morning I woke up and decided I wanted to start taking pictures. So being the sort of person I am, I researched all the best equipment, and then went out and spent over $12000.00 buying it all… And I have not put my camera down since… I wake up each morning and head out to all sorts of locations in search of opportunities… I guess shooting photos has given me a chance to be creative again, and I’m thankful for that… Am I addicted? Totally!!! I particularly love macro…

  • Afnan Elsherief

    Yeah I’m addicted to photography a day can’t be passed unless I take Alto of pictures it’s my favorite thing to do & I’m also addicted to instagram cuz I can share my photos there.. you can follow me it’s @Afnanelsherief

  • Yomi Jones

    its like you were in my head while writing this article, as it describes my feelings through and through. I do believe photography can be an addiction, but a very beautiful one. Its part of the ethos of being an artist, I suppose. You have to feel it in every fibre of your being. Thank you so much for sharing both your thoughts and your beautiful photographs.

  • http://www.iAwani.com/ iAwani

    for me, photography is a hobby. It is also a passion and an obsession. Nice post. Thanks.

  • Bill Jaynes

    Hi, I’m Bill Jaynes, and I’m an addict. It started when I got a new job as a newspaper editor who not only had to write all of the stories but shoot all of the photos. The transition was slow really, almost unnoticeable. Before I knew it I found myself dreaming of new ideas for shots, getting jumpy when the light was just perfect, and even angry when I was told that I couldn’t bring my camera while covering a newspaper story or to a family event. It began to eclipse all of my other passions. I am also the lead guitarist for a rock band. Before long I realized that I hadn’t even touched my guitar in a week–the last rehearsal and band members began to grumble that when they showed up for rehearsal I was always processing photos on Lightroom and hadn’t even tuned my guitar. I admit it freely. I am addict. Yeah, I probably need to get a bit of a sense of balance but I don’t think I’m ready to change yet. It’s a lovely addiction!

  • Shaz

    Definitely hooked. I enjoy the post processing as much as the photography, so if Im not shooting, Im playing around with the images, or looking at other’s photos.

  • Angie Shaw

    Hi my name is Angie Shaw & I just recently quit my teaching job of 10 years and took the summer and take myself seriously for my passion for photography this summer. In 3 short months, I’ve gone from a closet photo enthusiast to a small business owner. KrazyDandelion Photag’ery was born out of my passion for capturing Illustrations of Life. https://www.facebook.com/KrazyDandelionPhotagery?ref=bookmarks

    I even made up my own word… Photagery: Noun.
    1. Creativity infused Life photography centered occupation or business.
    2. A calling to creative photography as art.
    3. The art of creating photo-graphic goods or products.
    >>and to that, I’m pretty sure I can safely add one final definition of the word I just made up:
    4. Photagery: the art of staying up all night, and realizing that it’s 4:36AM and you haven’t been to bed yet, and you’re still brainstorming creative ways to express your excitement at the real possibility that in opening oneself up to public scrutiny, after finally agreeing to let your dream to be induce and the selfless act of promoting the slight-possibility, that it just might actually go somewhere!

    A small CRAZY busy little business to boot! It’s 1:23 a.m. and I’ve been sitting at my computer for just under 16 hours, uploading, playing with, sorting, editing *& post-processing, answering email requests, creating custom pieces for clients, placing & processing orders,& greeting the friendly FedEx man for his daily deliveries… all the while, still trying to find random things on my increasingly messier-by-the-day desk!

    I, too, find that the business side of starting a photography business is a bit daunting. But it’s a passion I can’t deny. My hubby, as wonderful as he is, doesn’t “get” that I’m enthralled with the process of capturing, creating and designing images that surprise my eyes… photos that make my heart stop and my jaw drop.

    I find that my colleagues and fellow photo-nuts around are less-than-enthusiastic about encouraging a newbie like myself. I do have a couple of photo-mentors who peek in occasionally and offer bits of advice, critiques and photo-high-5’s when something catches their eye.

    But there’s an aire of territorial-ness that surrounds our small community of photography entrepreneurs. An aire of “can’t touch this” and “un-Liking going on” behind the scenes. Surprising, yet not… is the fact that photography junkies are a lot like educators… Selfish, a tad-bit self-absorbed and extremely territorial.

    My biggest cheerleaders so far have been family, close friends, and complete strangers on social media sharing sites. It’s amazing to me, how one photograph can evoke such and outpouring of gratitude, memories, compliments, and sense of community.

    I’m not quite sure if I’m addicted to photography, or if photography is addicted to me. But I am certain that I’m a glorified photo enthusiast, image romanticist, and Photag’ery apprentice. And therein, lies the essence of my true passion for capturing illustrating Life!

  • Howard Phillips

    My god, this article describes in perfection how I feel. Except for the part about been a professional (which I am not)

  • rt83021

    I never had the desire to go pro, I shoot what I like to shoot, but it could be anything that interests me at the moment, even my fat cat lounging on my desk, a seed pod from our Golden Rain Tree, a simple sunflower in the yard. I am fortunate to have an 8-5 job Mon-Fri the rest is my time. I had a pro gig once shooting livestock at a huge show, in Montana, lasted about a week but I made enough money to buy my first SLR.

Some older comments

  • Afnan Elsherief

    July 1, 2013 12:41 am

    Yeah I'm addicted to photography a day can't be passed unless I take Alto of pictures it's my favorite thing to do & I'm also addicted to instagram cuz I can share my photos there.. you can follow me it's @Afnanelsherief

  • Darren

    April 24, 2013 04:19 pm

    I'm 40 years old, and after working 18 hour days in my online business which was my life for 20 years, I retired... I spent 6 months totally board out of my mind, until watching a documentary on photography... The next morning I woke up and decided I wanted to start taking pictures. So being the sort of person I am, I researched all the best equipment, and then went out and spent over $12000.00 buying it all... And I have not put my camera down since... I wake up each morning and head out to all sorts of locations in search of opportunities... I guess shooting photos has given me a chance to be creative again, and I'm thankful for that... Am I addicted? Totally!!! I particularly love macro...

  • zack

    March 27, 2013 10:09 am

    this artical sound very much like my life exept the working part of photography. i belive that i do have a addiction to photography and ive also been tolled that its a good thing at such a young age of 15 because i can then make alot of progress through my life. when i am just abouts to have my tea i always see the perfect lighting to get out and take pictures in but i never get the chance. i love the days when i tell my parents i am having a full day out with my firends to go out taking pictures. aslong as i have my bridge camera or a DSLR on me at the time i will be taking pictures. i mainly like to go out and sit dow just waiting for a good picture to apear in a good area because it gives me time alone and i think personally thats another reason i like photography, because no one can stop me from doing what i love and once you have all the equipment you need the rest is free and fun.

  • Cheryl P

    February 19, 2013 05:15 pm

    I don't call it an addiction, I call it my PASSION. I can't imagine my life without my camera, my pictures, and without constantly feeding my passion. I enjoyed 2 years in college doing a Photography program, getting straight A's, because it naturally became my passion and I wanted to do well because I really wanted to perfect my craft. It allows me to express myself, to capture amazing moments, that not only will be a memory in my mind, but I'm able to freeze time with photography. Being a wedding photographer/baby photographer/portrait photographer is the most fulfilling career I've ever known, and I've been going 7 years strong running my business and it has yet to 'grow old' for me. A lot of people have often said, "You take so many photos", "Oh...there she goes again with her camera - always has to take a photo, and can't live in the moment", so what! This is how I like to live in the moment - at least I will be able to look back on that moment and remember it and be able to SEE IT I wish there were less judgmental people in the world who could appreciate that THIS is who I am. I think it's an excellent form of THERAPY, and an excellent way to tap into one's creativity. The world needs more photographers to capture how life really is, and the world around us.

  • Sean Bodin

    February 18, 2013 09:01 pm

    Ohhh yes, I've always have camera with me! I get abstinence if I do not have!

  • Rachel

    December 2, 2012 06:09 am

    HI, I found ur article very interesting. My husband and I were in therapy yesterday and she noted that my love of photography and urban exploration was an addiction. I only take photographs about once a week maybe twice time permitting. I don't get the opportunity everyday, I don't have the time.

    In answer to ur question, I don't think photography is an addiction unless it's to the point of being like drug or alcohol use.

    Her response to my question, "Does this mean photographers are addicts?" was to do photography in moderation, once in a while. My once a week is too much. According to her philosophy.

    Honestly, this means every person in society(especially those who have hobbies) are addicted.

    I asked a friend about this and he relates photography as therapy. I don't really think there is a right answer to this question.

    My blog http://haunted505.blogspot.com

  • tanya

    August 27, 2012 09:24 am

    yes i would say im totally addicted..if i miss out on a perfect shot i get mad at myself for not having my camera with me or i have to charge it..i LOVE taking pictures of nature i have 1 son and i have tons and tons of pictures of him growing up..i have 2 uncles that are professional photographers and i think im following in there foot steps..i dont know alot about cameras though..im wondering if i should go to school for photography..

  • Explorer

    March 20, 2012 08:33 pm

    This may seem ridiculous, but it's still the reality I've never got my hands on my own pro-cam yet, i just tried my friend's cam and suddenly i found myself obsessed with photographing. i sleep thinking of it and wake up dreaming of it i even look around me imagining poses and light situations, how to take a great pic and all so I've now ordered mine and I'm waiting I Felt like I'm addicted to photographing even before i grasp thee real deal but non of my friends nor family understand this feeling..

  • Aditya Nangia

    December 23, 2011 05:20 pm

    Nice Article... ,
    I understand.. :-)

  • Boudoir Photography

    October 26, 2011 02:42 am

    I'm way beyond addicted LOL

  • Naik

    September 22, 2011 05:25 pm

    Photography and addition to it ?? Yeh, I am Naik Mohammad Azamy from western Afghanistan. I am the head of an organization.
    I should say that I am addicted. I loved photography from very past but 3 years ago I was to the US and bought a CANON camera. I took over 3000 from which some are great. Last year I got a canon 550 D which is prefectly working for me with an extra lense 55 - 250. I am based in remote area from the city and on weekends I am coming home. I am taking plenty of photos from my children, parties and nature.

    The bad thing which is disturbing me is that, traditionally it doesnt look suitable for me (a 40 years old man and head of an organization) to have always camera with me and take photos. I enjoy and love some of the photos I take and becoming sad while missing a point of shot. Among the staff and friends I am famous for that and even in some occasions they are asking me to participate and take photos (but not for a business).

    If I dont take photos for some days, I feel thirsty of shoting and by having my camera I start to find the subject which can be any thing to me.

  • Eric 'Bubba' Alder

    September 20, 2011 03:07 am

    Boy, can I relate to a LOT of this, especially the part about nobody in the family having any particular interest in photography. I almost always have my camera handy at family gatherings and have become our unofficial family photographer. (If I happen to leave my camera home people ask "Where's you camera?")

    My wife and son often get exasperated when I stop to take a shot while we're out and about, although they have grown a bit more tolerant over time. I've found it helps to walk ahead when I see something interesting, so I don't always have to play catch up.

    A few people have told me I should become a professional, but I couldn't see that happening unless I was able do it completely on my own terms and still make a decent living at it. But one thing is for sure: I'd never even consider it if it wasn't for digital cameras and Photoshop.

  • Greg Aitkenhead

    September 18, 2011 12:16 pm

    Nikon nerd!

  • Paul

    September 18, 2011 08:28 am

    Definitly yes and I have the gold boxes stacked up to prove it!

  • dewey

    September 7, 2011 01:29 am

    It's not an addiction I would ever want to "overcome".....

  • Perez Studios

    September 7, 2011 01:20 am

    I believe it can become an addiction but it is also an easy one to overcome too.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Denise

    September 6, 2011 11:27 pm

    :) hmmm photography addiction! I'd say I am totally addicted!!! My husband bought me a camera two years ago and I haven't put it down since! In-fact just two months ago things began to happen very quickly for me in the photography world! I had people approach me to do weddings (eeeeks!) and now personal couple shoots, baby shoots and model shoots! To think it started off with wanting to capture mother earth in all it's glory! I was an artist first.. painting/drawing and now I'm so happy with my camera! I have soooo much to learn, I still don't know everything about my camera or the technical jargon, but I'm learning slowly! I'm beyond addicted, I'm in LOVE! :)

    Happy snapping guys! Great article! :)

  • Jenny

    September 6, 2011 09:24 pm

    I just started photographing my grand kids seriously this past year. I am defiantly an addict! My camera goes everywhere with me.I am constantly looking for the perfect lighting and the perfect shot.I love looking at others photos for ideas and am thinking about up-sizing to a better camera.Every new day excites me it is another opportunity to take photos.I am not a professional, but have the new found passion.

  • Abegail

    September 6, 2011 04:58 pm

    Hi Valerie! I really like photography and I am so into it, I can even relate to your experiences you have shared above. For me, it's all right to be addicted to photography. It's not a sin or whatever but a talent that you just want to share with everyone and a way to show how beautifully God made everything on earth.

  • Claudia

    September 6, 2011 01:48 am

    It is addictive and even more so now that we're in a digital world - we can experiment to our heart's content with little consequence or cost - just a much improved learning curve. For one who is an "immediate gratification" kind of person and one who loves to learn, photography these days is immensely satisfying.

  • KSam

    September 5, 2011 12:49 pm

    I may not use the addiction, but attached is much better. Especially, digital or DSLR came out. We do not have to worry about processing and developing fees. Trying out different f-stop and shutter settings are not that costly. Now I try different ASA. This is fun.
    Have a good picture taking day.

  • ArturoMM

    September 5, 2011 04:18 am

    Everything I like becomes addictive.

  • Bill Spanier

    September 5, 2011 03:55 am

    Yes, I would say I am addicted to photograhy. I take my camera to work everyday and on my days off, my camera bag is with me. I have three kids and enjoy photographing them playing sports but there is always something other than my children that catches my eye and will need to photograph it. I enjoy nature and landscapes. I have camera in tow and when I see it, I capture it. My kids tease me and say, "Hey Dad, look a tree why don't you photograph that or a blade of grass" So, yeah....I am addicted and couldn't be happier.

  • sookie

    September 5, 2011 01:54 am

    hi valerie,

    Yes it's addicting.. can you teach me some techniques anyway..

  • PatriciaD

    September 4, 2011 04:39 pm

    Totally addicted though don't have the money to indulge too much. I was finally able to buy my first DSLR about a year ago, recently got an off camera flash, a really good tripod and a backpack to carry all of it and my laptop. I LOVE it beyond a whole lot of things but my family seriously gets tired of it.

    I still want to shoot myself occasionally when I don't have my camera though. Stumbled upon two moose on my property tonight (clearing to build my cabin) but they ran off and I didn't have my camera in hand. I'd just left it in the car seconds before. Argh!!

  • Linda

    September 4, 2011 03:23 pm

    yes, and thank you for sharing that I'm not the only person that is a freak of nature when it comes to taking pictures. My grandkids seem to understand but my children think I'm nuts, until, of course, they see the amazing pics I am recording for them. I take my camera EVERYWHERE and I don't care who things it's weird. When I am dead, they will look back and say, "WOW, thank God Mom took all of those pics. I love looking back and seeing our family and the way she saw it".

  • Elly

    September 4, 2011 01:33 am

    I'm very much addicted and try to take my camera with me when I travel, even when I go out I at least have my camera phone handy because you just never know what great opportunity will come by.

    Although the past year I have been feeling a little bit uninspired, especially as people have asked me for copies of pictures and I've actually done my first 2 proper shooting jobs (meaning I got paid) which left me sitting in front of the computer editing for hours and that just drained me. I didn't really like the expectation and the feeling of pressure to come up with perfect photos.

    I love photography but when it gets to the point where you have to do it for other people, I think that's the part where I get selfish because I just want to do it for fun! I don't want to feel pressured, it's a hobby and I don't want to turn pro, well I'm nowhere near that anyways, but I like the feeling of whipping my camera out when ever I want and take pictures of what ever I want.

    I totally related to your article and yes people don't understand my passion for photography and they don't understand why I take time to take a picture of a blade of grass. Most times when I take pictures I don't really have people to share them with...so I have millions of pictures on my computer but each click only makes me become better : )

  • Valerie Jardin

    September 3, 2011 11:02 pm

    Once again, wow! Thank you all for the response, you made my day! After reading this I feel like I know some of you quite well because I have a good understanding of the way you feel about this wonderful craft called photography. We are very lucky, some people have no passion in life. I know some of you did not like the word 'addiction' because of its negative connotation. I understand what you mean. Whatever you want to call it, it's a passion I can't live without and obviously I am not alone. This is a great community, thanks again! If you haven't already done so, please connect with me through FB, twitter or G+, all info in the profile box at the bottom of the article.
    Have a great day everyone, keep the passion and vision alive!

  • josiah

    September 3, 2011 07:58 pm

    You hit it on the head Valarie. For along time I thought I was alone thinking along those lines. Now that I am retired I seem to love the craft even more but finally I am gaing some balance and perspective on what I love to do and sharing time with family.

  • Ed Fitzgerald

    September 3, 2011 12:43 pm

    I keep saying I'm not addicted to photography, but I'm sure fond of it. I bought my first camera at age seven. At age 68 I bought the newest camera that I own a year ago. I'm sure it wont be my last. I've had everything from 4 X 5, medium format, and now digital and I'm always in my quiet spot when I'm photographing something. One of the first questions my friends ask is where have you been and can I see your pictures. I can't think of anything worse than not having a camera. It keeps me sane and loving life because I'm looking for the next photo tp pop up. Loved your article.

  • TJ

    September 3, 2011 10:24 am

    I've only been really getting into photography for about a month, but something just clicked. I got a few compliments, went out and bought an SLR and now I am living and breathing photography. I sleep and think about it. When I wake up, I think about it. When I got to work, I get frustrated because I can't take it with me. I've never really enjoyed a hobby quite like this one. I think I'm an addict.

  • Barry E.Warren

    September 2, 2011 09:32 pm

    Hello my name is Barry, I am a addict. My addiction is photography, for the last 30 years I've been take shots, and creating strange illusions. I do this night a day and I don't think that there is a cure for this. But it makes me happy, I enjoy being an addict.

  • Andrea Roberts

    September 2, 2011 01:07 pm

    If being addicted means buying and reading every photography magazine and book you can get your hands on, taking your camera with you every day and trying to find something to photograph and spending money on photography equipment instead of that new outfit you saw in the store window, then I guess I'm hooked. I love how I can be feeling bad, go out and take photos and feel a lot better. Loved the article and felt good about the fact that I'm not the only one who feels the same way.

  • MJ

    September 2, 2011 12:51 pm

    Absolutely! The more I shoot, the more I want to shoot, the more excited I get, the more fun I have, the more I get creative ideas..... My husband loves me, encourages me and like yours rolls his eyes a time or two. But I love it.

  • David Barnard

    September 2, 2011 10:02 am

    firstly i thank you for your thought provoking article, it has made me remember 14 years ago when i bought my first serious camera a Canon 3000 (35mm) i felt like a pro when i went out with it for the first time, it was very early in the morning and very cold, as i walked trying hard to behave like a "real" photographer and be aware of everything around me I suddenly spotted a line of ice droplets that had formed overnight along an electric fence, i remember how much that little scene attracted me and not really knowing what i was doing quickly photographed it and it even to turned out pretty good, but I have to say from that moment on i was totally 'addicted' to photography and the last 14 years that have rolled by have only served to increase my passion and my determination to aspire to be the best i can be and to please the one critic in this world that so far i have failed to please fully......myself.

  • Debbie Taylor

    September 2, 2011 09:52 am

    I too am Debbie and I am a camera addict. I'm not a pro, but most definitely a keen amateur. The only time I am totally present and without any stress is when I am behind a lens. Nothing else gets in. I loved your article and it's great to know that there are other people out there that speak my language. I get a lot of eye-rolling when I talk about it, so I just don't say much any more.

    Thanks!

  • TONY HOANG

    September 2, 2011 08:50 am

    Dear Valerie,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope can read more articles from you.

  • Singralli Seena

    September 2, 2011 08:39 am

    I shoot events, parties,nightclubs, weddings,birthdays.. When I'm not shooting these days, i find myself reaching for my iPhone camera, and when that's not an option either, i go completely blank. Cant figure out a way to socialize, my hands are twitching. There's not a single night I am away from Photoshop or Lightroom and was on cold turkey all last week.
    It's not a joke, this addiction is serious!

  • Kimberly

    September 2, 2011 06:49 am

    the longest post on the planet alert!! :) *Yes, this may be an overshare, but - this is one of the most insightful posts I have seen in a LONG time. I feel maby what I share rings true with someone else?

    Seriously? This has just solidified my love even further for this website. You guys come up with the best topics of discussion, always bringing something to the table that virtually any photographer can relate to.

    Addiction, passion, obsession, therapy, drug. Photography for me is all of these things and then some.

    As with anything that you get that 'high' from, can be an addition, anything that gives you that much happiness and satisfaction can be an obsession and an addiction, anything which can put fullness and satisfaction in your brain and in your heart and a smile on your face can truly be a passion.

    Again, getting that 'high, in your body and in your brain can be equaled as a 'drug' because it gives you the same effects as some drugs can provide. Photography does this without the terrible side effects - but can cost just as much if not more financially which is where it turns into a BAD addiction/obsession. And it becomes bad if it interferes with or effects you taking care of your family. Or if your job effects the well-being of others or if others are relying on you being at your job and you happen to be out photographing because you literally cant 'help' yourself...

    Me, I used to shoot any old 35MM camera, never really good, but loved that excitement of going to pick up your prints.

    Then, i got a crappy Canon G5 and Minolta Dimage 5, started taking 'audience' pictures twice, I SAVED our friends weddings as they both got janky photographers, one didnt show up, and one something happened with his memory card and not a single image was retrieved. My images not only were the ONLY images, they just ended up being really great images. I was shocked, really shocked.

    Then people told me how great they were, and I should 'do it for real'. It was so great to hear because I never had a talent before, or had a creative outlet that I could succeed in. I had low self esteem and I suffer from A.D.D and the drugs prescribe all make me sick to take so I don't take them. Photography literally help me focus on something, I feel like I am 'worth' something (as sad as that sounds). It has brought me to meet very nice people and has actually brought me alot of money from selling prints and editing for other photographers.

    I really got into photography just 2 1/2 years ago when I got a Canon 50D. I am 100% trial and error self taught... I am obsessed with gear (now, it's really not that bad.. but last year I was at a peak of obsession) I have now 30 or so lenses, all of which I have used -only really use for the MOST part 5 or so of them. I only paid full price for 2 of them. the others I acquired by trade and editing for other photographers.

    I was diagnosed with a couple medical conditions and have knee and back problems requiring surgery and had a knee replacement which kept me from photographing, it was awful for the first couple months, not being able to drive and go when I wanted. BUT with all my old images I shot from a few months before, (thousands to go through ending up with hundreds worthy to shoot) I learned how to edit, with Lightroom and NIK software, and ON ONE and cloning and healing with Photo Shop... again, self taught. -

    But then, I fell into a rut, where I just lost my drive, desire, need to incessantly photograph, edit, upload. I was in too much pain to shoot - then got depressed from the pain, and got depressed from not being able to go do the only thing I was decent at and got pure innocent enjoyment from. Not to mention, I enjoy being alone and this is something that I can do alone. I like the quiet. I like the self expression, I like the creativity of it all.

    But, on the other hand, if I weren't depressed or physically unable to go out, I wouldn't have been in bed after the knee replacement surgery for the past year and a few months, I wouldn't have learned how to edit so much, I wouldn't have learned my computer. So, in all reality, it was a blessing because I was forced to learn the post processing end of things. I am not perfect, but - I know 500% more than I did just 3 months prior to having surgery.

    However, I still am in a creative rut - and it's a bummer. As I really miss that excitement of getting ready to leave the house, with my gear, packing my gear, wondering where I am going to go. But then I get bummed out because I have photographed my area so much, and im isolated from any big metropolis, im on the Central Coast 2 hours away from L.A, 2 1/2 hours away from San Jose.

    Photographing sunsets and the oceans and the coast is old for me. So I struggle within myself where to come up with creative places to go. Then, the cycle continues even more as I get depressed - it sucks. When I get depressed then I don't have the drive or energy to even go out and shoot to make myself feel better, even though, I know I will feel better when I am successful with great shots.

    In closing (finally!) - I hope I can get my 'mojo' back and start to be obsessed with shooting again and feel good about shooting again. I need more to edit, as I am totally addicted to editing, as I am with shooting!

    Thanks for bringing up this topic which is totally applicable to any photographer at some point in their shooting. Whether or not that addiction is a permanent thing remains to be seen. It's still in my blood, its just that my blood isnt flowing that fast these days!!!

    Kim -

    i know it slong and i probably missed some stuff. but you get the idea

  • Amanda

    September 2, 2011 05:41 am

    I wouldn't say it's an addiction... but I do admit being a slave to my camera. Everything gets look at, even when I don't have my camea, with eyes seeing how a picture will come. I spend as much time as I can taking, editing, developing, printing, mounting, and framing pictures as I have.

    It's gotten to the point I now have 3 masters. My digital camera, my film camera, and soon my minolta medium format film camera.

  • Mridul Khanal

    September 2, 2011 05:02 am

    Habits are strange.... they will doze of if you don't feed it; It still lives inside and wakes up someday. Me and camera; I didn't have the money to buy film for a film SLR in my home that nobody bought, my dad got it when a guy couldn't pay him back. As a kid, I had a friendly photo studio near my house. I used to go there and started learning how to use a camera. Then it progressed to how to develop black and white photos in dark room. I was just in my 8th grade back then. But we relocated shortly and I lost the camera and the dark room.
    Now, 9 years later, I can afford a camera and have bought one (Canon 1000D w/18-55mm IS). Started to learn again, everything I had forgotten.

    If you wanna see how I am progressing, search for me in google+ with Mridul Khanal. You will get just one result :D

  • Geo

    September 2, 2011 04:55 am

    I am not a pro even though i hope one day i will become one. Whenever i am out even if sometime i do not have the camera with me, I always analyze the scenes i am seeing: the light, shadows etc. For sure ever since i have started with photography i am seeing the world in a different way i observe things i did not see before and i enjoy life even more.

  • Larry G.

    September 2, 2011 04:36 am

    I have bad (or good news) for all my fellow addicts..It doesn't go away either...
    I have had the affliction since I was 18...some 50 years ago...However, if their
    is another path to true happines I have no idea what or where it is.. I know what
    addicts go through in withdrawal..Get the same feeling when I go a day or two
    without taking photos...I've gone from flashbulbs to Photoshop...A great time
    to be a photographer...Shoot with all Nikon full frame DSLR's... This is as good
    as it gets...

  • Marilyn Armstrong

    September 2, 2011 04:36 am

    As addiction goes, it's not exactly evil. No one dies because you spend all your available cash on photographic gear. The lust for that special lens (right now, it is a 25mm Leica lens I yearn for and it is ONLY $599 ... practically FREE) is very real. It can become something of an obsession. On the other hand, that is art in all its forms. Artists, whether amateur or professional, tend to be obsessive about their work. If that is the very worst thing I ever do, I can live with it.

  • John Jessup

    September 2, 2011 04:20 am

    The compulsive intrigue for me still lies in wanting to see "how it comes out".

    Whether in a developing tray of liquid 30 years ago or on my 24" i Mac today.

  • Carol Delaney

    September 2, 2011 04:09 am

    Hello, my name is Carol, and yes, I AM an addict!! You took the words right out of my mouth, Valerie!! Especially while you're sitting at the dinner table and not being able to sit still or focus on a conversation. Many times I've rushed my kids to eat, or just left them that the table, so I can grab my camera and run outside to capture something; anything, in the wonderful light. <3 to shoot!!

  • A.J.

    September 2, 2011 03:46 am

    Photography isn't an addiction for me, but I do love it a lot! I always enjoy having the camera with me when I'm in some interesting spot, and I when I have it with me I can't stop taking pictures. As you say, the world is full of interesting and beautiful places. Even the most simple corners can be attractive because of that lamppost or because of that special beam of sun light.
    Your post has really encouraged me to further my photography studies! :D

  • marty

    September 2, 2011 03:20 am

    In my situation, instead of addiction, it's more "integrating the moments." This doesn't mean I preclude obsessive.

    Photography has taught me to be much more observant of my surroundings.( Another word choice, however with different connotations, is mindful.) As I became more in-tune with my environment, over many years, it is almost a seamless process. I can be doing my daily mostly mundane (believe me, I work in an office) things & still part of my brain is scanning.

    It remains a mystery to me why one shape/form/pattern/texture jumps out at me (compared to the multitude that don't), but some do & that almost always results in an actual photograph. (& this is where digital has made the biggest impact for me, allowing a lot of camera to be small enough that I can easily carry it in my pocket...always) These images confirm the process. Certainly not all photos, like all moments, are graphically appealing, but they are part of the process. The process is actually more important than the photos, though the photos are what keep me disciplined to the process.

  • C.B.UPARKAR

    September 2, 2011 03:17 am

    You can treat me as an addict. I got my first digital camera in 2005 ( KODAK C340). Since then it may be around 7500 picturs I have clicked. It was my job profile to take as much as photograph as possible. This made me carry a camera always with me. If nothing around and my wife is with me, I use her NOKIA 5 MP phone camera.Its good addiction I would say, though sometimes people call you crazy.

  • Marco

    September 2, 2011 02:50 am

    Hi, I am Marco and I am an addictive/compulsive personality disorder in the flesh. I have never been able to "just quit and addiction" so I substitute "healthier ones" for the destructive ones. Yet the newer healthier ones also impact my life.

    I no longer do drugs, alcohol or excessive food, but my photography keeps me so broke that I cannot afford a dinner date if I met someone!!!

    However, recently I have found that I can limit my photography to long distance nature shoots at places of high productivity rather than daily shoots locally that produce no quality images. I suspect that the photography is wearing off as an obsession, but the need to be out in high quality nature areas alone is still the main addiction. The camera is just an excuse to GET OUT INTO NATURE

  • Marnie Brandt

    September 2, 2011 02:48 am

    I'd say it can quickly become and addiction. My sister-in-law just had a new baby, so we drove two hours (and spent two more in the car with the in-laws running errands) just to visit them. I had brought my camera along, and by the end of our time visiting, realized I had spent far more time taking pictures of the new baby than actually cuddling it, as I had originally intended to do. A photo may last longer than a real life look, but I think there's more value in my niece smiling into my eyes than into my lens.

  • MattB

    September 2, 2011 02:15 am

    I could quit anytime I want. I swear!

  • Dawnwithacamera

    September 2, 2011 01:45 am

    I go in spurts. Right now, I haven't shot anything in probably 3 months. It's kind of hard when you have no peers to enjoy the hobby with. There are no camera clubs around me and I don't know of anyone else who is interested in photography. I know I could shoot for just myself, my half the time I figure "why bother" no one sees my photos anyway. I do post some of Flickr, but never get any feedback of I have stopped. I have lost my zest and inspiration it seems.

  • Virginia

    September 2, 2011 01:30 am

    Yes, I am addicted and have been for almost 4 years. You will be interested to learn that my first trip to Paris in 2007, turned me on to photographing something besides my third g rade students and grandchildren. I've been hooked ever since. I keep thinking I i will tire of it and put the camera down for a bit,but so far that has not happened!
    V

  • Darryl Cox

    September 2, 2011 01:25 am

    I am 74 and have been an avid photographer since age 16. I have used photography in every aspect of my career and am photographing theater in my retirement.

    I once heard a saying 'If you enjoy what you do for a living you never work a day of your life.' An addiction in my eyes is an activity that harms oneself or other.

  • Nancy Frost

    September 2, 2011 01:04 am

    Dear Valerie:

    Love...Love...Love this article --- I could have almost written it! This article is my life!!! I love photography! I'm lacking a few years on you though - I've always liked photography but it wasn't until about 2 years ago that I started it as a serious hobby. Then this year I jumped all the way in and upgraded my camera, bought several lenses and other essential (start-up) "stuff". In fact I've bought so much "stuff" that I had to get a separate rider on my homeowner's insurance (lol).

    I've basically "gave up" everything else - I've only watched a few hours of television in the past 1 1/2 yrs. If I'm not at my "real job", attending to family/household things...I either have my camera in my hand, for fun or money, or I'm in front on my computer working on my photography.

    I am feeling quite fulfilled at this point in my life. I know I have tons to learn...but I'm enjoying every minute of learning - books, magazines, on-line articles, on-line tutorials, workshops, photowalks...whatever I can "get into" that relates to photography...I'm there!!! Recently I've even started to dabble in photomanipulations with PS CS5. Just adding a simple texture to a photo can really add to the overall presentation.

    Photography is my passion! If I could make a living at it...I'd quit my "real" job today!

    Thanks for sharing and allowing others to open up about their photography passions.

    P.S. I'm hoping I never "burn out" - in fact I've even thought..."What if I start to burn-out because I spend sooo much time doing it now because I love it...What if I start to hate it?"

  • Valerie Jardin

    September 1, 2011 02:55 am

    Wow, thank you for all the comments. I guess I am not alone ;-) I am still reading through them and I just saw this one from Whitney. To answer your question I am linking another article I wrote a few months ago, I hope this helps!
    http://www.digital-photography-school.com/the-importance-of-personal-projects
    Valerie

  • Whitney Woo

    September 1, 2011 01:44 am

    Valerie,

    Nice read. Thank you for sharing! However, I am more interested in how you were able to pull out of quitting photography. I am currently experiencing this - I have lost almost all passion, and usually do not care to bring my camera along anymore, even considering it has been my passion/hobby for 6 years. But, of course, I recently graduated from college and landed a full-time job, which might contribute to this different attitude. What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions on how to get back into it?

  • Dyanne

    August 31, 2011 04:09 am

    Valerie, Great article and ensuing discussion! I think for me the word "addiction" has too many negative connotations as in something that you just have to keep doing as if there is little choice like being addicted to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, so I would probably not use that word to describe something that I am passionate about.

    Today, I don't even think I could say it is 'photography' in and of itself that I'm passionate about... for me I feel that I'm passionate about expressing myself or capturing a moment in time to preserve it. Photography is the means of preserving for future generations moments from today. I do like the sense of losing myself when I am doing photography as well.

    Thanks for the discussion.

  • Marilyn Armstrong

    August 31, 2011 03:04 am

    I wish my computer would stop duplicating posts like that. It looks like it's in a loop, so I refresh and discover that it posted twice. I apologize. It is the computer gremlins at work.

  • Marilyn Armstrong

    August 31, 2011 03:02 am

    Nope. NOT an addiction. Never mind the new Canon and the 3 lenses and the Olympus Pen that's on the way or the two P&S cameras that I use for those occasional quickie snaps. I can quit whenever I want. I just don't WANT to.

    So it's not an addiction, right? Just a really expensive hobby that sucks up every cent that I don't need to pay basic bills and/or eat. Right. And makes me look at every bright sunny day as a photo op rather than ... a bright sunny day.

    Isn't that weird, by the way? I think there was a time when I woke up and looked at the weather as weather. Now, I look and think "Hmmm. Where can I go to shoot?"

  • Marilyn Armstrong

    August 31, 2011 03:02 am

    Nope. NOT an addiction. Never mind the new Canon and the 3 lenses and the Olympus Pen that's on the way or the two P&S cameras that I use for those occasional quickie snaps. I can quit whenever I want. I just don't WANT to.

    So it's not an addiction, right? Just a really expensive hobby that sucks up every cent that I don't need to pay basic bills and/or eat. Right. And makes me look at every bright sunny day as a photo op rather than ... a bright sunny day.

    Isn't that weird, by the way? I think there was a time when I woke up and looked at the weather as weather. Now, I look and thing "Hmmm. Where can I go to shoot?"

  • Taalke Moffatt

    August 31, 2011 02:13 am

    Nah, its not an addiction..I only have 3 cameras and one on pre-order....I mean, I need one in my purse just in case, you know. And one is being borrowed by my son who seems to be enjoying this passion now too, but just starting to learn things..and the third one is my first DSLR..already 3yrs old, so, of course, I had to pre-order the next one...I mean, what if I'm out shooting pictures and my camera dies?? It can happen! It did to my lens, which, when I brought it in, I discovered is obsolete. Can't go without, right? (no, still not admitting to addiction!) So I had to go out last night and get a new lens...the other "died" on Sunday....
    Nope, not an addiction...therapy! :)

  • George

    August 30, 2011 11:02 pm

    Yes, Photography can definitely become an addiction, and we love it.
    http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/46121671@N02/6094084323/

  • dewey

    August 30, 2011 10:00 pm

    I have commented earlier, but thought I might share something with other lesser skilled photographers. I actually began in earnest about 3 years ago. I have bought a few e-books I deemed to being critical to the learning process, including creativity, comp, dof, etc. I bought a kindle and loaded a total of 7 onto it and placed it into my bag. Now if waiting for someone, or more often, if waiting on light, I simply slip it out, select the book I'm currently reading and do so. If it's a technical question, slip it out and look it up to determine course of action. It is so much smaller than books, so easy to maneuver, and always at arms length.

  • Rajpillai

    August 30, 2011 06:33 pm

    Valerie,
    i completely agree with your statement as i am in the same phase . Day I bought my camera i.e about 11 months ago, never been separated where ever i go..... becoming passionate is a part but truth is its addictive. I dont usually read any articles or books because i believe seeing is reading .I read through the visuals and graphics rather than words but i am been made to read few ebooks on photography to learn the basics which right now i can stay away from books, blogs etc which even a 5 minute coffee break i would like to read at least 10-15 pages in a book or a blog..................... I dont know this is right or wrong but for truth it makes me very very happy and will always continue doing this .......

  • Marilyn Armstrong

    August 30, 2011 12:19 pm

    Oh wow can I relate to this! I DID give it up as a profession AND it took me years to start again as a hobbyist. I got so frustrated with clients blaming the photographer because they felt their nose looked too big or they looked older than they wanted to. Of course, that was before you could make it all go away and make everyone beautiful with PhotoShop. But that wasn't even a dream yet. If we couldn't make that particular magic in the darkroom, that was the end of the matter. I reached over saturation and it was literally decades before I could even look at a camera again. But I AM back. I need some more live people to share photography because my husband has gone beyond eye rolling to a general total glazing of the eyes and a sudden deafness in both ears. I do (fortunately) have a talented (really, no kidding) granddaughter who loves to "go shooting" with me. Maybe I need to take a class or two ... not just to learn, but to share ideas and trade ideas. This website has helped a lot and I am so very grateful for it. your story really resonated for me. Thank you!

  • Greg Aitkenhead

    August 30, 2011 08:17 am

    @scottc--Flickr & following discussions on DPS!!!

  • Charlyzzo Tembe

    August 30, 2011 04:16 am

    I feel exactly the same way...
    When i leave My câmera behind it's like i left the boiar with no pants...

  • Dani Wilson

    August 30, 2011 12:33 am

    I too want to see the world through my lens, but most of all LOVE LOVE LOVE sharing the everyday beauty that alot of people fail to see. The tiny creatures and the beautiful ever changing scenery around us. With each and every photograph I take I learn, grow and become more excited about the shot I'll produce.

    Here is my blog post on the same topic, posted July 6,2011. http://capturedbydani.blogspot.com/2011/07/theres-always-shot.html

    Addicted too,
    Dani

  • Phil

    August 29, 2011 06:50 pm

    Thank God we're not alone. My wife and I both have the bug. Our dilemma is usually "...do we take both cameras or just one?".

  • Russel Fernandez

    August 29, 2011 05:18 pm

    lucky i have a wife who indulges and encourages me in my addiction...definitely an addict

  • Mei Teng

    August 29, 2011 04:59 pm

    Like anything in life, photography can become an addiction if one does not strike a balance. Don't let a good thing (such as photography) turn into something that takes your focus off the important things.

  • Lewis McLeod

    August 29, 2011 03:25 pm

    Is photography addictive? To me... yes. It's recreation, passion, relaxation and therapy all rolled into a single activity. And I'm obsessed with it. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to catch some amazing light at sunset, and my girlfriend said "I don't think you get that worked up over me!" Honestly, I'm not quite THAT extreme, but there are times......

    As Sallie said in an earlier post: My name is Lewis, and I am a photography addict.

  • Alan Schantz

    August 29, 2011 02:15 pm

    I rarely go a day without making a photo. If you are into it you should never be without a camera on your person. I always carry my Canon S90 everywhere. Since it's always with me I've gotten some of my best shots with the S90. You can't always have a 5D MarkII on your shoulder so the camera with you is the best one you have. The joy of sharing those special images is what I love.

  • Ken s

    August 29, 2011 08:48 am

    Definately addicted I shoot even when i do not have my camera w me at times When i see something interedting all i thinknif is how would i photograph it ? Now w my iphone4 of course i am never wo my 'camera' good aeticle

  • Scottc

    August 29, 2011 06:23 am

    I don't think photography is addictive (mine seems to be a contrary opinion). I do believe that some things associated with photography can be addictive, such as flickr.

    I started photography as a hobby while I was in Europe, it was a great fit considering the places we traveled to and the amount of time I had available on weekends that we weren't traveling.

    We moved back to the States in July, and I've photographed 2 subjects in the last 7 weeks. The process of moving, home ownership, and the ability to pick up where I left off on some other past times have (so far) transplanted photography.

    It's not for lack of desire and I do have plans for photography in the near future, it's just that competing priorities are present and that doesn't describe an addiction.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/

  • Anna McCCullough

    August 29, 2011 05:54 am

    Yes, and a marvelous addiction at that. For those who think we have our priorities wrong - please understand that this is who we ARE. Our priorities may certainly be DIFFERENT, but I wouldn't go so far as to say wrong :)
    I too started with film, got away from it for a while, and found my love for the craft reignited by introduction to digitals. I'm on my sixth digital camera (a Fuji HS20) and eyeing a true DSLR next year - because of course, as your skills grow you want better tools (grin). Fortunately my significant other allows me the space to enjoy my hobby - though I'm sure I occasionally frustrate him by whipping out a camera at any given moment, he also takes the time to point out things and areas he thinks I might want to visit with my camera. I am not a professional nor do I aspire to be; I'm just a mildly insane hobbyist (grin) who shoots purely for the pleasure of capturing a moment.

  • I am not

    August 29, 2011 05:02 am

    I am not addicted, I can talk about something other than shooting, and more than two minutes.

  • Diane Macdoanld

    August 29, 2011 04:09 am

    Excellent discussion topic, Valerie. Had you asked this a few years ago, I would have said that I am definitely addicted and have been since I first picked up a camera about 58 years ago.In more recent years in general and more recent months in particular, I would say that it is now more of a passion, but one that is more perfectly balanced with the rest of my life. Becoming a pro about 18 years ago only increased the passion for me! As I have gotten older though, I have become more passionate about other things. I haven't really become less passionate about photography, but it just doesn't take up the time it used to. because I have made room for my other passions. I used to eat, breathe, dream photography! Now for me it is more a delicacy to be enjoyed. Even my "for profit" work is extremely satisfying when I'm working on the projects. I can't see me ever retiring from photography though. It's definitely in my blood!

  • George Dewey Powell

    August 29, 2011 03:05 am

    nothing makes me happier, other than perhaps my grandchildren, than to be out with my camera. I sometimes get in the Jeep and head for the country, not knowing if there will be anything in particular to shoot, but there is always the possibility that something "special" may present itself.

    Whether or not that happens is honestly of little consequence, because when I'm at the wheel of the Jeep or walking, I am one with my Nikon, taking it all in and marveling at all I see.

    I find that creativity increases, and most certainly my processing ability. I delete more than I keep, and I post fewer than I keep, but I am happier than I was before I went.

    I know for a fact that I am passionate, and if not clearly addicted, I wish for that as well.

  • Greg Aitkenhead

    August 29, 2011 02:54 am

    Wow--I just joined this community. Great posts. Vibrant discussions. Very cool.

    I want to weigh back in on the subject. I think, of course, that there is a big difference between addiction and obsession. I also think that there are healthy obsessions, and there are the kinds of fixations that lead to real personal harm. I don't think any of us are suffering from a real addiction to photography, but it sounds like we're all a bit obsessed.

    Jayme and others have talked about how they focus on honing their craft. That obsession for me, whether we're talking about working on the art of photography (composition, light, and color), or technical proficiency with the camera, or post production skills in Photoshop and Lightroom, or website development and marketing, feels multifaceted. Photography is so much a part now of how I look at the world around me, how I interact with others, and how I spend my waking hours. But that's healthy, and so for me photography doesn't feel like an obsession or an addiction, but just a way of looking at the world. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, thanks again Valerie for spawning such a great discussion.

  • Tim Norman

    August 29, 2011 02:51 am

    Odd that you would talk about such a thing as photography being an addiction. I think in some ways you may be right. I recently moved from Ohio to Colorado. I had been doing a lot of editorial photography shooting sports, news and portraits. Now I find myself looking for another career for a time while I build up a business again. I'm missing the mundane shooting I had been doing. I do get out and photograph for myself a bit, but not as much as I would like. I know I will get back to it eventually but it has to go to the side for a short time while I establish myself again. I know other photographers who left the profession and have realized how much they loved it despite the pains that came along with it. And I know another photographer who is thinking about moving on to another career once she loses her job at the newspaper she is at. She knows the job cuts will come eventually and just wants to see about doing another thing with her life.

    Life in photography, just as life in general, is in a constant state of change. Sometimes you love it. Sometimes you hate it. Sometimes you can't live with it or without it. It's a passion that grips you just as many different careers can.

  • Jayme

    August 29, 2011 12:59 am

    I, too, have a photography addiction. But as someone stated before, it's more like my therapy. I would eventually love to make a living at it - that would be a dream come true. I get requests to shoot events and projects now and then - I do take advantage of those. However, I'm not pushing it too much to become a business venture. I've watched a few people destroy their original passion for something by trying to push it into a business too soon, too fast. That's not worth it to me. So instead, I'm concentrating more on honing the craft than making money.

  • Tom Gomes

    August 29, 2011 12:36 am

    Great article and especially great comments! For me it's really passion and maybe a little obsession. I became re-motivated after taking a workshop at Yosemite...then bought a 400mm lens and a 10-22...I just signed up for an Autumn leaves workshop in the Eastern Sierras and a February workshop in Banff, Canada. Please see my new website (a work in progress) at www.tomsbirds.com.

  • Chris Porsz

    August 29, 2011 12:22 am

    Fascinating article Valerie which truly comes from the heart. It was a privledge to share your addiction on our London walk. I need another fix.

  • gwen

    August 29, 2011 12:20 am

    Absolutely... I miss my camera when I don't use it for a few days! AND I'm always pointing out moments that would have made "a great picture!"

  • Jack Larson

    August 28, 2011 11:49 pm

    My wife calls it an addiction. I call it a passion.

  • Mariola (Yool)

    August 28, 2011 11:40 pm

    Hi Valérie,
    It sure is a great addiction :)
    Still a novice.... I took up photography a few years back joint a great site Red Bubble and i am hooked for life and love every moment of it.
    Through the lens you see so much more...its an amazing life out there!!!!!!!
    Photography rocks

  • Amos

    August 28, 2011 11:18 pm

    I think it is addicting. Having, literally, had a camera in my hand since grade school, it is hard to find the definition between just ME and me with camera. Having children now, it makes it all the more difficult. As I love the candid shots of them jsut being kids. The downfall to that is, I am rarely involved in those special moments. Instead I'm on the other side of those moments looking back at them later. Often realizing too late, how I might remember it, but it would have been so much better to have actually been a part of it.
    I call it an addiction because I WANT to be able to go out of the house and leave my camera there. I want to just enjoy the moments, be in them, soak them up. However, on the rare occasion I've been able to walk out the door without that added appendage I most certainly come across the most amazing sites and then find myself upset that I cannot photograph it to share with everyone. Even though, I also write and could just as easily share it that way also, I still end up kicking myself inwardly for not having a camera on me. Which, I then feel probably takes away from the moment.
    I find it just as difficult to go without a camera, as I did to pass by a cigarette when I quit smoking a couple years ago. It can be done, but knowing I will not (obviously as it is my job among other things) be going without a camera the rest of my life, how do you learn to use it in moderation?
    Definitely a good subject. Beyond what I feel about it myself, I see SO many doing the same thing and not even realizing it all. How many sweet moments do people miss because they have their back turned to what is most important while trying to set up a shot of something rather unimportant in the end?

  • Eric

    August 28, 2011 11:02 pm

    Hi ! To you all,
    I suppose it is a kind of addiction, I took up my first camera whilst I was in the R.A.F.in the early 50's, took snaps of the children as they were growing up, then of course the Grandchildren. My Lovely Wife bought me a computer in 2000 which was suppose to have a web cam as an extra, but the retailer had run out so asked me if I would accept a digital camera to which I agreed, it was a 1 MP little silver Samsung-----HOOKED FOR LIFE !!!, eleven years later and having been through seven digital cameras (including Nikon DSLR's with large zooms) I have found the perfect Super zoom which i can take everywhere with me (Panasonic FZ45), even now approaching 80 years old i can't wait to take a photograph every day, absolutely anything that catches my eye, I LOVE IT-----No suppose----IT IS AN ADDICTION made all the more pleasurable by Digital.
    Have fun with your camera.
    Smiffy1932 on flickr.

  • Sandra

    August 28, 2011 10:58 pm

    This is one of the rare posts I've read where 99.8% of the words & thoughts could have been taken from my own mouth. Easily identified with much of the sentiment presented & it felt good somehow, not only sharing a common interest, but sharing common feelings...although I tend to think of my love for photography as a creative passion rather than a healthy addiction :)

  • Jenny

    August 28, 2011 10:32 pm

    I think photography is an addiction for me. I get moody when I can't get out and take photos. :P

  • Mike Klubok

    August 28, 2011 10:10 pm

    I guess one can be addicted to almost anything. That said, your pictures are quite good.

  • Kathie M Thomas

    August 28, 2011 09:27 pm

    I belong to the addicted too! It fast became a passion when I retook up the camera almost 3 years ago and I can honestly say there have probably been less than 12 days in that time that I haven't touched my camera. But I consider it a healthy addiction - for me at least. I do nature photography and it gets me out in the fresh air and walking almost every day of the week. I needed to get exercise so I am while out seeking that next best shot. I can't imagine life without my camera.

  • Verena

    August 28, 2011 07:06 pm

    This is a really interesting article, thanks for it! I think every passion can become an addiction when it gives easy satisfaction and recognition. I personally am addicted to tango argentino myself ( I sometimes also take pictures there though: http://experimentsinexperience.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/day-10-im-not-addicted-am-i/ ) and it's probably my greatest passion, but photography is following right up and becoming more and more important with every day. And I also think that turning pro can destroy that passion and make satisfaction less reachable, because then it can become all about making enough money and not about taking pictures of the wonders you see every day. It's like this with any passion you turn into a job, it can take away what you really liked about it. Wonderful that you found a way to find your passion in photography again!

  • Glenn

    August 28, 2011 05:40 pm

    From France to Minnesota sounds like a big change. I myself have gone from Atlanta, Georgia to Barcelona, Spain.
    My wife believes that I have a photography addiction and obession although she does not share my passion. I just find so many beautiful things to photograph here and want to keep a snapshot in time.

  • Rafael

    August 28, 2011 05:30 pm

    Turning your hobby into your job can be risky. But more often than not I hear it's worth it.

  • ratnendu

    August 28, 2011 04:45 pm

    Photography is great stress buster for me!! Am I addicted? Yes very much!!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    August 28, 2011 04:21 pm

    PS excuse my spelling, I have been up 23 hrs Photographing

    ;-)

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    August 28, 2011 04:20 pm

    Hi

    An Addiction? No, a Passion. I travel to photography and I photo when I travel. I will kike and go out of my way to discover and share. Like this shot from Sedona, Arizona...almst trashed my car to get to the Trailhead, then up a slippery slope first thing in the morning...pure Joy

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/the-devils-bridge/

  • Cate

    August 28, 2011 03:03 pm

    I am so glad I am not the only person that feels this way! I began a portrait photography business at 17 and continued it through college, and by the end of college I was burned out on photography. I dreaded editing time, and I'd kind of lost my flare. But then I joined the Peace Corps hoping to find a new career path, and what I realized since I've been gone (14 months at current) is that photography is what I love to do and what I will continue to do once I'm done with my service, only taking a different route (photojournalism). Taking a break from the BUSINESS reminded me how much I love my HOBBY.
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Larry Lourcey

    August 28, 2011 02:51 pm

    I guess it is like anything else - as long as you don't over-do it, it is a great addiction. Facebook and Twitter kind of fall into the same category...

  • Varun Raj Minocha

    August 28, 2011 01:53 pm

    An intriguing article. Even the comments are fascinating. For me, it's like @kevin freeman (4-5 comments up) says "It is not an addiction, it is therapy!"

  • Danny

    August 28, 2011 12:56 pm

    Anything can be addicting... A good friend of mine (now deceased) used to say that if a person had a whipping every day from early childhood on, and then it stopped at the age of 21, that person would miss it.

    I do not believe I would go that far, but yes, anything can be addictive to some people.

  • Jim

    August 28, 2011 12:41 pm

    Yes definitely. In fact I search the web constantly to see other images as well, it is a source of ideas that when recalled can bring newness to my photographic hobby.

  • Franz Scheurer

    August 28, 2011 12:25 pm

    Photography is addictive
    You have to be thankful for such a terrific addition
    Just ordered a Leica M9 - does that count? (I already have more camera gear than you con poke a stick at)
    But the good thing?
    We have professional photographers who LOVE their job and gifted amateurs who REVEL in photography.
    What more could you possibly want?
    (Love your pics, btw)
    Cheers and feed that addiction of yours :-)
    Franz

  • Kevin Freeman

    August 28, 2011 12:01 pm

    It is not an addiction, it is therapy!

  • Karen

    August 28, 2011 10:59 am

    It definitely is an addiction. I'm a hobbyist myself. But everyday I find myself wanting to take my camera with me everywhere. I've thought about going pro, but I am worried that I'll somehow pollute my passion by turning it into a job.

    I shot my first wedding a couple of weekends ago. For a friend as a gift to her. It was one of the most satisfying experiences I've had. And when I later heard that one of her family cried when she saw one of the photos, it just made my heart swell.

  • Steve Mockford

    August 28, 2011 10:45 am

    This is an interesting post Valerie. I had a similar experience but in slow motion. Through the 80's and early 90's I made my living with a camera, but eventually doing it for a job somehow drained the fun out of it. In 1992 I gave up professional photography and, except for my role as the recorded or family events, rarely carried a camera for the next 10 years. Eventually I picked it up again and, if not an addiction, it is clearly an obsession. More than that it has become important for my enjoyment of the world. Anytime that I feel overwhelmed by events or work, I grab the camera bag and head off for a while. I cannot conceive of leaving the house without a camera or of going a day without photographing something, or someone. I think that for those of us obsessed with photography it is an important part of how we experience the world.

  • Karen

    August 28, 2011 10:42 am

    I know I am addicted. Just yesterday I was telling a friend that had the itch to out and take some pics. I work at a very demanding job and photography is my stress release. I love it! Looking forward to the break in this long HOT summer to come so I can get back out side and take some pics.

  • Vladimir Krzalic

    August 28, 2011 09:45 am

    I'm not addicted. Now if you excuse me I must go and take pictures as i didn't make a single one for hours.. lol :)

  • Donna Ford

    August 28, 2011 09:28 am

    I am so addicted! My digital camera died a couple of weeks ago and I was going thru withdrawals! LOL! I am a amateur photographer and while I don't have a new digital as of yet, I am using my 35mm camera! I have been interested in photography since childhood! I am always looking at anything and everything like I am looking through a lens, so yes I would say I am definitely addicted!

  • Lou

    August 28, 2011 09:28 am

    Sure. Can be addicted to anything .

    Now I se everything as if I'm taking a picture. Want to, will do, wish I could.

  • Karen Harwood

    August 28, 2011 09:27 am

    I sure hope its addictive, I love taking photos with my new SLR, I'm actually out the door at 6am just to catch the sunrise. I'm hoping that I don't drop this new habit and a renewed love of photography, but I have ADD and tend to loose interest in many of the things I start, it's very sad.

  • SamL

    August 28, 2011 09:06 am

    Valerie, and the rest of the responses, yes may be a addiction. But a good addiction. The addiction we can express our image, character, creativity, idea, expression and on and on.
    Whenever, we have comments from our close ones, good or bad, we improve, seek other direction or a better one to come.
    Hope all of you agree and keep get up the good job.

  • Normunds Baltacs

    August 28, 2011 08:58 am

    Very interesting article,am still an amateur had my canon for just over a year,started with basic lens and stuff like that but more and more discovering things about photography ive got more in to it,its complete different world and its taking over my biggest ever hobby like fishing,i started even buying more professional gear because its quality that matters and am very trilled with all the results i get so far,i wish i had more time to shoot and be more out discovering great outdoors threw a lens.Its very addictive but in a good way...:)

  • norman

    August 28, 2011 08:30 am

    Great article....

  • sallie

    August 28, 2011 08:09 am

    I feel I am addicted.. Im not a pro I dont do it for a living, although that is my dream :) I have to say out loud to myself sometimes "no sallie, put the camera down" because I dont want it to take over. My fiance and father of my two beautiful children supports me in my search for my dream and so do my 6 and 7 year old but but I understand how it can swallow me up and take me away. Yes, my name is Sallie and Im addicted to photography.

  • Greg

    August 28, 2011 08:07 am

    I hear what you're saying! I'm just a hobbyist photographer ( I have a good secure full time job ). Photography has certainly become a bit of an obsession! I love it! Love shooting landscapes, portraits, street - anything that will make a nice scene... I take my Nikon with me to work most days in case I see something going there or going home that just needs to be photographed. I trawl the web and library books for interesting ideas. I think I may have to go see a psychiatrist ;)

  • Laurie

    August 28, 2011 07:46 am

    I have come full circle. I first discovered photography 10 years ago (my first 'shoot' was a 5 week trip to the US). Initially I suffered from beginners luck, nearly every photo I took was great. Then as I learned more about the technicalities, shutter speed, aperture etc, I found my photos become more soul-less. Eventually it became a as dull as a lens sharpness graph. Just technical, and dead. Boring and dull. I took a course on snapshot photography, realised that i had no emotional core to my photos, and quit photography switching from being a dance photographer, to a dancer.

    It was several years before I came back to photography. It was a drive in me that wouldn't die, and I brought myself an updated camera, and started taking dance photos again. I was amazed by how much more I could see, how I was able to see the emotion in a moment, and use the technical skills I had acquired earlier to capture them. Now not only am I planning several personal projects, but i'm doing shoots to help friends with their projects, and starting up a business to enable amateur event photographers to sell their photos online.

    I'm not sure if that makes ne an addict or not, but photography is certainly a part of who I am. Thank you for sharing your story, it's good to know there are others out there.

  • chris

    August 28, 2011 07:43 am

    Your article struck a chord with me, I'm far from a pro as I only shot for pleasure & to help charities. I am learning but sometimes it is very daunting to know how much I need to grow to even get near to the quality of your work.

  • Terry

    August 28, 2011 07:28 am

    totally addicted. The snick-click of my camera gives me a feeling of satisfaction. I don't go a day without a camera in my hand. I got nervous when my camera was inaccessible due to a recent earthquake--so I borrowed one for a day. Husband so does not understand--says my priorities are wrong.

  • Greg Aitkenhead

    August 28, 2011 07:20 am

    Valerie--sounds like you've got it bad! I wouldn't say I'm addicted, but I do hit myself over the head sometimes when I don't have my camera and there's something beautiful going on. Happened yesterday driving home from work. I kept thinking, "Oh, I should pull over for that!" I kept imagining how I would set up the image--where I would pull over on the highway, where I would set up my tri-pod, camera settings. The light was perfect.

    Well written article, by the way. I like the way you described the feeling photographers get when they're in the zone. I was interested to find your article as well because I just posted an item on my blog http://canyonartphotography.blogspot.com about a Rolling Stone article featuring Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe (the 1980's hairband) discussing how his addiction to photography has helped him deal with his addiction to drugs!

    Thanks for the great post.

  • Joyce Shields

    August 28, 2011 07:10 am

    Your topic is intriguing. My situation is that I am a public school teacher. I only got into photography about 10 years ago. Now, I am the paparazzi at school (for yearbook), shoot at all family events, on vacations, grab a few hours on the weekend for fun, whatever and I have just started my own portrait business. I read about equipment, posing, light, and explore photographer websites for styles and inspiration. It is addictive and expensive, but oh so fulfilling!

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