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Time For Photography – Part 2: Making Time

Image: Copyright Nathanmac87

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.

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Peter West Carey
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.

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