Time For Photography - Part 2: Making Time

Time For Photography – Part 2: Making Time

Copyright Nathanmac87

Part 1 of Time For Photography included some tips on finding time in your schedule to take photos. In Part 2 we will concentrate on making time. While it might sound more difficult to make some thing rather than find it, they both take a lot of effort. Sorry, there is no silver bullet, but the good news is creating more time to take photos can be accomplished.

Create A Schedule

If you made an honest assessment of how you spend your daily hours in Part 1, it’s time to do something with that information. The idea behind figuring out where your time is spent is a step to taking control of how you spend it. So many hours for work, commute, meals, family time, friends, laundry, etc… will lead you to see where you can make time.

Maybe it’s only 30 minutes every other morning when you decide to get up early (and possibly not watching as much late night TV in the balance) and maybe you figured out a way to eat enough snacks every Wednesday at work so you can go out and shoot street scenes on your lunch break.

No matter the case, making a schedule will help because it is a reminder for your brain to make things happen. We are a society that often lives on the “out of sight, out of mind” principle. If you don’t see “Take Photos” anywhere on your calendar, it’s not on your mind. But if your handy smartphone or wall calendar has “Shoot Flowers” three days from now, you’ll start looking forward to it and trying to make sure it happens. If you need some inspiration on subject matter, I previously created a 53 week calendar of ideas to help keep the ideas coming.

Employ Others For Help

Some people just aren’t good at self-motivation and follow through. That’s where a buddy (or ten) comes into play. A friend or member of a local photography club can be a boon to those needing the “I don’t want to cancel on him,” motivation to get out and shoot. Is it divisive and codependent? It certainly is. But if it gets you shooting and the creative juices flowing, I think there are more positive than negative.

Local photography clubs or groups on Meetup.com can be a good place to start to find a ‘wingman/wingwoman” for your photography adventures. The time together need not be a large investment and it will depend on your respective schedules, but making time is about the effort in an ongoing basis. Start today!

Find Inspiration To Help Motivate

Often the problem with making time to photograph is not the action itself, it’s the motivation behind it. Feeling uninspired is one sure way to make sure you don’t make time to shoot. Recently I’ve been drooling over 500px.com, as mentioned here recently on DPS, when I can’t get out and shoot and have found it a great way to get my mind in an artistic mood for when I do squeeze in some minutes to shoot. While I certainly browse the Upcoming and Fresh sections, I also find a lot of new and inspirational artist to follow by who follows me. If you’re on 500px.com, look me up, I’d be glad to see what you’re shooting!

Make It A Habit

You eat food every day, right? It’s a habit for you (ok, and a bit of a bodily requirement, but that doesn’t help my straw-man argument). Chances are you have other habits. Maybe you check out Facebook each day to see what you’re friends are up to. Or spend time reading the paper (likely online) or watching TV or praying or some other habit. Most of us have habits. And there’s no big mystery to how they are formed.

Habits come about because we find something that brings us a certain amount of joy and repeat doing it for a short amount of time. In the case of creating a new habit, it is often stated that it takes about three weeks of keeping at an activity before it becomes habit forming (in a good or bad way). Try shooting just three photos a day for three weeks. I know it sounds simple and maybe boring, but that perspective is up to you.

Again, use the calendar above to find subjects you want to shoot. Plan out three weeks of subjects, one for each day, and keep it simple. Things around the house or people you already know you’ll see. Things on your way to work or street scenes. Making it simple and fun from the start will ensure the largest chance for success. Only take a couple of shots so as to not overwhelm yourself with editing time.

Other Tips?

Whether it is photography or another activity you have desperately wanted to ‘pick up’ but found time hard to come by, do you have any advice for what has worked in your quest to make time? Please, share your helpful hints in the comments section below.

Read more from our category

Peter West Carey leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics - A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

Some Older Comments

  • trendopics May 10, 2012 11:01 pm

    I did a photographer website a few weeks ago, He did not even know what photoshop was lol i was like your a photographer and you never heard of ps

  • Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog July 31, 2011 10:17 am

    I think I'm fortunate, because I always find a reason to take pictures. One of the reasons I backed away from the pro photography path is because I felt constrained (plus the business side was so not fun). I take my camera everywhere; I simply got tired to seeing great photo ops and not having my camera with me. Many days I come home without taking pictures and other days I take a load of them.

    Mostly I write down ideas of what I want to shoot. A few weeks ago I got up at 5am on a Sunday and drove around my town and took pictures. It turned out great and became a great blog post too. I just love photography.

    When I find myself being uninspired, I pick a color, shape, or room and then go take pictures. In the past, I've spend a day shooting round shapes, a day shooting the color blue, and a day taking pictures in our kitchen.

    Isn't photography a BLAST?

  • Mark July 31, 2011 09:31 am

    I think the thing for me has been not having a decent carry everywhere camera. I know it sounds like a convenient excuse but if your main camera is something like a 5D MKII with the 24-105 L lens on, it may take beautiful shots in any light although it is a genuine effort to carry. It's also true that if you aren't carrying your camera you'll never get the shot.

    Perhaps a better design of bag would make a difference - a Slingshot for example rather than my current choice of mini trekker rucksack or toploader zoom - where I wouldn't mind carrying it all the time, could get at the camera quickly and without fuss and knowing it was also well protected? My main photo subjects are the kids but I would like to get more everyday shots of the city I live in. I cycle to work which really does prohibit what I can carry in this situation but does allow me to be around in the early light.

    I did originally get a powershot G9 as a carry about camera which does take nice shots but has real issues in anything but the best light. It is also a touch chunky for a pocket but ok for a small bag. I have already bought a gorillapod for a carry anywhere tripod so it's probably a case of getting a better bag or selling the G9 and maybe getting a S95. Does anyone have any advice?

  • Rick July 29, 2011 04:31 am

    Two words: Google Earth. Download it, use it, and find interesting places in your region to drive to.

  • Terry Atkin Rowe July 29, 2011 12:57 am

    In 2010, on January 1st, I started a 365 project. Taking pictures every day and posting one a day to a FaceBook album - once my friends and family started following and looking for my pictures I had a built-in mechanism for people to push me out on days I didn't think I had the time. This year I've continued the project - so for almost two years I've had a camera in my hand every single day.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck July 29, 2011 12:26 am


    As a business owner of Kerstenbeck Photographic Art, I have set a goal of updating our Photoblog every day. This means new content all the time, so more shooting editing etc. Sometimes it means going into the RAW files from a while back and re-examining.

    This goal has helped the team focus on just shooting more...the result has been better images.

    Sticking to this has meant long hours and hard work, but so worth it!

    From Down Under: http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/a-sunset-bath-in-new-zealand/

  • Gary July 28, 2011 11:43 pm

    Great blog, I would like to post it on my blog, .

  • dale July 28, 2011 08:00 pm

    surely if people dont think about photography and need to put it in their calendar then they arent bothered about taking pictures?

  • Fuzzypiggy July 28, 2011 06:05 pm

    Whenever I find I can't create I simply take a look at art posted on DeviantArt or 1x.com ( out of this world photos ), if that fails I visit a local art gallery, look at some old masters and try to get a different point of view on what is/isn't art, try to fathom out why these masters of painting are so revered. If that fails, I leave the kit at home and take a slow walk through a busy town, just looking closely for those little details you might otherwise miss.

    I make it a point to get out on Sunday mornings, without fail. I plan using Google Maps and weather charts as early as Wednesday, that gives me enough mental "food" to get me to the weekend. Come Friday evening and Saturday, I spend time on the household chores, playing with the kids and making sure the Missus has nothing for me to do on the Sunday morning. Sunday morning is my time for the the pictures. I make sure she knows where I've gone and how long I will be, just in case I fall down a hole, get lost or some such other stupid thing I might do. I often drive 200 odd miles in search of something different to shoot, I do it alone I like the time to just throw myself into it and exclude everything and everyone else, especially work!

    Week coming up, my wife and kids are off camping with their friends for a week and I have hired a car and I am off on a 4 day , 1500 mile road trip around the north of England on my own. Then in a few weeks we're all off on holiday together, when I do what I told mostly! LOL! My wife knows how much it means to me and has the patience of a saint putting up with me wanting to disappear off taking pictures even in the middle of the holiday, in return when she suddenly wants to do something she wants, be it sit at home alone, go out with firends or whatever, I do whatever I can to make it possible. That give and take means I get plenty of time to play photographer, plus when I spend too much money on kit I can use it as an excuse to my wife, "Well I paid for it all dear, I need to get out and use it now,. You wouldn't want it all just sitting there now would you, my love?", LOL!

  • Isoterica July 28, 2011 11:36 am

    Added you to 500px :)

  • Lara July 28, 2011 10:42 am

    These are some really great ideas. As a professional photographer, I have really gotten away from personal work. It's funny because you'd think a pro would be "always on, always ready" but I usually leave the camera behind when not in "work mode." I am planning a trip to burning man this year, which is a fantastic, fantastic place for photography, so I'm looking forward to bringing photography back into my personal life.

  • Fred July 28, 2011 07:51 am

    Meetup.com is a fantastic place for photographers. I've joined over a dozen groups and usually attend at least one event a week. They get me out of my comfort zone and introduce me to locations I would have never discovered on my own. Along with taking pictures one of the groups is a critique-only group where the organizer and others critique my photos. Very good for staying humble. Meetup.com - use it!

  • scottc July 28, 2011 07:45 am

    "Make it a Habit" is definitely one way to make the time. I'v fallen off of the photography "wagon" lately and need to get back in the habit.