Why Do People Become Photographers?

In our quest to take better photographs, have you ever stopped and thought ‘why have I become a photographer?’

It may sound like a heavy and deep question to ask but isn’t it interesting to look at the reasons why photography is such an attractive hobby to millions of people.

Now there aren’t thousands of hobbies that have as many participants as photography does so there must be some sort of attraction outside of the norm which brings so many people to the industry year on year.

It may sound like a heavy and deep question to ask but isn’t it interesting to look at the reasons why photography is such an attractive hobby to millions of people.

Now there aren’t thousands of hobbies that have as many participants as photography does so there must be some sort of attraction outside of the norm which brings so many people to the industry year on year.

Why Do People Become Photographers?

In our quest to take better photographs, have you ever stopped and thought ‘why have I become a photographer?’

It may sound like a heavy and deep question to ask but isn’t it interesting to look at the reasons why photography is such an attractive hobby to millions of people.

Now there aren’t thousands of hobbies that have as many participants as photography does so there must be some sort of attraction outside of the norm which brings so many people to the industry year on year.

It may sound like a heavy and deep question to ask but isn’t it interesting to look at the reasons why photography is such an attractive hobby to millions of people.

Now there aren’t thousands of hobbies that have as many participants as photography does so there must be some sort of attraction outside of the norm which brings so many people to the industry year on year.

hand drawn camera illustration photography

We’re all Photographers

Our discussion isn’t just aimed at professionals. We’re looking at the wider audience of anyone who considers themselves an amateur, enthusiast or hobbyist as well.

People like this are just as important to the thread of photography as those who make a living off it too.

We’ve designed a list, after much discussion between the tutors, of the 5 most popular reasons why people become photographers.

1. The Urge to Create

We’ll start with, what we think, is the most popular reason why people become photographers. The urge to create something is inherently human.

If you look past photography and think about what humans create – babies, buildings, transport, islands, homes, countries, political movements – pretty much everything apart from trees, animals and plant life.

the moment of creation photography why

This massive urge to create stems from humans wanting to leave a legacy behind when they pass. It makes us feel that we made an impact on the word and our names will still be remembered like Greek Gods.

Photography gives us this platform a) to create and b) to leave something tangible for future generations. Especially with the internet, anything that gets uploaded is almost guaranteed to remain in somewhere forever more.

1. The Urge to Create

We’ll start with, what we think, is the most popular reason why people become photographers. The urge to create something is inherently human.

If you look past photography and think about what humans create – babies, buildings, transport, islands, homes, countries, political movements – pretty much everything apart from trees, animals and plant life.

the moment of creation photography why

This massive urge to create stems from humans wanting to leave a legacy behind when they pass. It makes us feel that we made an impact on the word and our names will still be remembered like Greek Gods.

Photography gives us this platform a) to create and b) to leave something tangible for future generations. Especially with the internet, anything that gets uploaded is almost guaranteed to remain in somewhere forever more.

2. To Stand Out (by proxy)

Photographers generally aren’t extroverts. In fact, we like to stand in the shadows and watch (which we’ll come on to in our next point).

Though some of us lack the confidence and social skills to be a Lady Gaga, we still want to be noticed whilst not putting our hands up.

Therefore, to use photographs as a proxy of sorts to represent our feelings and interest, is a comfortable way of potentially being recognised for our artistic talents.

This can also be extended to photographers who are physically disabled.

They can use their camera to express creativity despite their limitations.

2. To Stand Out (by proxy)

man with camera in shadows

3. Voyeurism

Photographers are voyeuristic, no debate. The camera is an extension of our eyes and it has the ability to peer, zoom or sneak into other scenes. It allows us to capture permanent memories of private moments. Some may think this shows a perverted side to photographers but if we’re all honest, there is some level of voyeurism in all of us.

“We’re not calling anyone perverted, but think about gossip magazines, celebrity news feeds, leaked information, secrets about your next door neighbour”.

These are all examples of people being voyeuristic, so how wrong actually are photographers?

This hankering to look into the lives of others is an innate desire that drives people to become a photographer.

They don’t have to experience the moment once, but they can review it over and over with their pictures in private.

It’s like borrowing a moment in time of someone else’s life.

It’s up to you to decide if that’s natural or not, we’re just saying it happens.

illustration why do people become photographers keyhole blog
man taking photograph of lady in the street

4. To Live Through Others

There is also a draw to photography that allows people to live their lives through their pictures. We’ll try and explain this as simply as possibly…

There are some of us who struggle, like introverts, to express emotions verbally and find it easy to do it through visuals instead.

Many famous pro photographers use their backstory to frame the style of their work. Street photographers invariably grow up in big cities and similarly for landscape shooters.

They use their shots to express their feelings about their surroundings and how they see their environment.

Street photographers sometimes use the lives of others to capture moments that they envy. They ‘borrow’ characteristics they’d like to see in themselves from their subjects. This fills their libraries with moments of ‘missing parts’ to their own personality.

man taking photograph of lady in the street

5. Lack of ‘Artistic’ Skill

We’ve included this in our list as we can speak from experience. Not all of the iPhotography tutors would class themselves as classically artistic, meaning we aren’t brilliant with a pen, pencil or paint brush.

As much as we love being artistic, some of us struggle to draw a good portrait or landscape. The idea of painting a mural fills us with fear.

This is why photography is an ‘easier’ medium to express creativity. We say ‘easier’ but photography isn’t ‘easy’, it takes time to learn about your tools and the way to compose your shot.

We can still frame a scene, fill it with colour, add lighting, direct your subjects with a camera so how different is it to being a painter? It’s just a different way to create art.

man taking photograph of lady in the street

What’s Your Reason?

Those are our 5 reasons as to ‘why do people become photographers?’, so which one is yours? Why did you become a photographer?

If we’ve missed any good reasons please let us know. You can get in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too and drop us a comment. We’d love to hear your stories on how you came to be the photographer you are today. 

Why did you become a photographer? A picture, a person, a moment? Either way, let us know.

photographer taking picture of city hand drawn illustration

Don’t forget to check out our huge library of other blogs. We’ve got tips for portraits, weddings, landscapes, camera settings and so much more!

But if you are looking to raise your photography game from beginner to master then you need our one (or all) of our incredible iPhotography training courses.

Learn all about general camera skills, creative light tricks, portrait photography, home projects or Photoshop & Lightroom. We’ve got everything you need here on iPhotography.

Join the network of over 95,000 aspiring photographers just like you, and do something you should have done yesterday.

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