“Stop and smell the roses” — it’s a wrinkly old adage, but it still makes a ton of sense. With all the stress swirling around our modern lives fueled by work, relationships and health, the best antidote is to just step back from it all. In order to slow things down and appreciate the little things, some people meditate, others exercise. We have another suggestions: take photographs. It may sound silly, but viewing the world through a lens gives an entirely new perspective. Photographs can depict beauty in places that are not traditionally beautiful. Looking back at images from your day can reveal things, people, and places like you never have before. You may even see some of those actual roses you didn’t know existed. Here are a few tips to document the life around you.
The Smartest Thing About Your Smartphone is Its Camera
This might be obvious, but it’s worth a reminder: You have a camera in your pocket at all times. Thanks to smartphones we’re always ready to shoot — a proposition in the past that would have meant toting around a bulky camera or separate point-and-shoot. So, remember that and use it. In fact, familiarize yourself with the shortcuts that get you to the camera function fast without flicking through multiple screens.
Rise and Snap
Go ahead and start your day with a picture. Shoot something around your house when you wake up: the dog, the bed, the view from your bedroom, breakfast — anything that makes you feel grounded about who you are and where you live.
Document Your Commute
Getting to work can feel like a death march — traffic, public transportation issues, so many people — but it’s time to look at it in a different light. Shoot a low angle during your walk to the car, bus, or subway (meaning take your “camera” and hold it close to the ground before snapping a photo), to get a new perspective on the things you see every day. Take a picture of the skyline or a vista that you don’t take the time to gaze at while you’re rushing.
Take a Selfie, You Know You Want To
Selfies are this generation's most frequent form of self-expression. But instead of styling yourself and making that perfect face, just take a few off the cuff shots of yourself during the day that chronicle your moods (boredom, joy, interest), not just how good your hair looks.
Spend Your Lunchtime Shooting
When you get to take a much-deserved break from work don’t just spend it searching for the perfect sandwich, find new things to photograph. It could even be your workplace itself. Or head to a park and look for those roses. The point being, a half an hour of searching for subjects to shoot is probably a half an hour more than you’ve ever wandered around just observing.
Shoot Everything But Your Friends
Snapping phone pics of your buds is easy, but going out at night and shooting everything else might be a bit more of a challenge. Document things that go on after hours in the not-so-usual-way. That means, no food pics, drink pics, or bro pics. Cool lights, architecture, and street scenes are fair game.
Rate & Review
So now what? You’ve burned through most of your phone’s memory in a week and you just have a bunch of random photos. Don’t be so dismissive, now comes the fun part. Swipe through these photos. Study them. Take a long look at them. Appreciate ALL the moments of your life and the people, places and things that you touch on a daily basis but never really acknowledge. Our suggestion? Keep your favorite five photos and repeat this exercise for a week. You’ll have a pretty special photo album when it’s over.