What’s Your Joy Point?

I see five basic joy points in pursuing photography. By “joy point” I mean the aspect that gives you the most satisfaction with being a hobbyist or professional involved in photography.

  1. Buying/Collecting — Sometimes referred to GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). You get the greatest enjoyment out of buying (the best, the most unique, the newest, etc.) and/or building a collection (complete, unique, etc.). 
  2. Learning — In the film days, that often meant DIY rather than letting someone else do it, as in film processing and printing. But in general, Ansel Adams and the Time/Life photography books started us down the road towards understanding that photography is a craft, and crafts have to mastered. Mastery happens via learning.
  3. Photographing — The actual act of going out and taking a photograph is an activity. As in you have to actively do something, and many people get their greatest enjoyment from participating in things. Sometimes it's travel that triggers photography, sometimes it's photography that triggers travel. Either way, you’re out of the house and doing something.
  4. Post Processing — This is another activity, but generally a very private one you do out of view of others, and for which you can take as much time as you need (wedding and sports professionals notwithstanding). It’s also linked to #3, but in the case of #4 you have more time to evaluate and consider your alternatives. Sometimes you see things you didn’t see while taking the photo. Which triggers a new #3 ;~).
  5. Presenting/Viewing — The implicit goal for most is that someone sees your images (though it may just be you doing #4 ;~). You want to show something to others that they might not have seen, or get a reaction to what you captured (or both). 

I’ll go first.

I spend most of my time centered in #2 and #4, and don’t do enough of #3 as I should. I’m not overly concerned about #5 because I don’t pursue photography for external validation, but rather for internal satisfaction. I have to do a bit of #1 in order to keep the Web sites current and active. 

You’re different.

Each of you will have a different assessment of which of those things are most important. However, I’ll bet that most of you haven’t given the full set a thorough evaluation and done enough self-assessment to understand why one aspect is more satisfying than another. That’s important to know. 

We all do some level of all five aspects I note above. It’s very possible—I’d actually say highly probable—that your “balance” is wrong, as in my case. Let me propose this:

  • You acquire some gear.
  • You learn how to use that gear.
  • You go out and use the gear.
  • You process and evaluate what you did with the gear.
  • You show others your results.

If you’re doing all those things in relatively equal—or at least the “right”—proportions, then you have nothing to worry about. Go back to what you were doing and forget that you read anything on my site today ;~). On the other hand…

Right, you need to think about the balance of what you’re doing, and why. Further, what that balance actually produces versus what it could produce. 


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DSLRS: dslrbodies.com | mirrorless: sansmirror.com | Z System: zsystemuser.com | film SLR: filmbodies.com

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