Divorced? Click for New Mate

One of the more surprising results, in my health survey of amateur photographers, was that people were finding new relationships through their involvement in photography.

That was not one of the specific questions in the survey, but rather was found in comments that were written in when folks were asked to put in their own words how photography had improved their life.

When asked to write in what benefits they got from photography, among other things they wrote:

  • Meet new people
  • Feel more connected to the community
  • Gets me out of the house
  • Don’t feel so isolated, lonely

Those were benefits I had not even considered including in the survey before all the results came back.

But when you think about it, a great deal of our physical health is tied to our emotions. How we “feel” inside is often reflected in our health and in our energy. When we are depressed and lonely, we often don’t feel like doing anything.

To see that photography could help people improve their social lives was a nice surprise. Come to think of it, although I never thought of it as a health benefit, I have met all kinds of wonderful people through my photography too.

One way to get started would be to look at Meetup groups in your area. Meetup.com offers many local community groups who get together centered around a theme. There are writing groups, and sports groups, a host of other groups on every topic imaginable, and there are photography groups.

In my area, the photography groups (there are actually 10 different photography groups in my area) chose some part of town, maybe a historic area, or church, or river walk, or scenic attraction and they all meet up to take pictures for an hour or two and then meet at some restaurant to sit and discuss the outing and share photos.

It’s great way to casually meet new people, without commitment or expectation,  who share a similar interest. It’s a great way for singles to get out, have some fun and social interaction in a safe way.

Photography classes are also a great way to meet new people. It’s easy to suggest meeting up somewhere for a photo walk. Or often times, the instructor will schedule fun outings that give you an easy, informal chance to talk and interact with someone new.

Once I saw the survey results and thought about it, it really made sense. Photography is a great way to meet new people and have something fun to do. There is no end to the adventures you can share and places you could go.

I’ve also noticed, that traveling alone is so much more fun when you bring your camera along. Suddenly, you’re not some lonely traveler wandering around a strange town, but you’re a photographer on a mission to capture great things! You’re on the hunt for cool new photos to share. You’re on safari!

A simple change of thought can do wonders for how you feel.

Not content to just accept the survey results and my own personal experience, I decided to interview a professional psychologist and family therapist who specializes in divorce to get her take on all this.

You can listen to my interview with Dr. Lisa Rene Reynolds by clicking here.



Attract Friends with Digital Tool

Ever feel like you’re alone?

It’s especially sad when it happens in a crowded place. People all around, like an early morning  commute in a crowded New York City subway train.

Or maybe at a coffee shop when you’re the only one sitting alone. Ever been invited to a wedding reception, but had no date?


Sometimes it’s cool to be alone. Maybe you’ve been dying to read a great new book, like The Hunger Games. You prefer to be alone so you can get lost in the story.

While being alone might be OK at times, loneliness is never fun for anyone. You feel isolated, friendless. You wish that someone would notice you, talk to you, invite you out for tea.

As humans, we all crave connection to others. It is essential for our sound mental and physical health. It is a biological and psychological need.

But how do we connect with others?

For some people, making friends is easy. These are most often the Type A personalities who come strolling into a crowded room of people they don’t know and instantly strike up a conversation. Within two minutes everyone is laughing and they’re the center of attention.

Other people go to a party alone, say a few Hi/Hellos to the host or hostess, then sip nervously on their drink and eat food hoping, praying that someone will come over and talk to them. Many times no one will and they’ll make some excuse to leave early.

Why is being social so easy for some and so hard for others?

That’s a mystery far greater than my capacity to solve. Especially since I’m certainly no Type A personality. I’m a bit more shy. I think many artist tend to be that way.

But what I do know is, I have a secret weapon that gets me noticed, talked to. It can make people laugh and I can get them to do things I would never be able to ask them to do without it.

It is my camera.

“Ooh! Let me get a picture of that!” is often met with big smiles. Bring your camera to any event and you’ll have a built in excuse to talk to people. You’re no longer the wallflower, you’re the photographer. The builder of memories and all shots funny to be shared on Facebook later or at the water cooler tomorrow.

You’re no longer talking to people hoping to get their approval. You’re working!

And oh the doors it opens. You can walk right up to the biggest celebrity at any party or event and ask, “May I have a picture?”. The bigger the celebrity, the more likely they are to say yes!

But it works at dog shows too. Flea markets. The city plaza. On the streets and in the parks. You can start a conversation with anyone and it often leads to you learning all about that person and them learning about you.

But you don’t have to instantly start talking to people if you don’t want to.

Start taking great photos of cool things around town and share them on the internet. Facebook is a great place to start. If you have neither your own Facebook page or follower friends, find a local community page and “Friend” them to get started. Share your cool photos and invite other over to your Facebook page.

Meetup.com is a website designed to bring people together who share similar interests. Most towns have a Meetup photography group that plans outings where people gather for a couple hours of photo taking together usually at some fascinating area venue. Join them.

There are many websites that let you submit photos for daily, weekly, monthly or annual photo contests. There is nothing like having your photo chosen and being seen and praised. Todaysphoto.org is a great place to start if you’re new.

Taking photos and having your work seen is great way to build friendships and venture off the lonely isle.

In fact, a recent poll of amateur photographers turned up some surprising results:

Photography Ends Isolation – 8 out of 10 surveyed reported that their involvement in photography had increased their contact with other people.

93 people out of 100 reported that photography made them feel good about                themselves. It boosts your self-esteem.

Being “shy” is often brought on by feelings of low self-esteem. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you often expect others won’t feel good about you either, so you hesitate to approach them. Photography give you a purpose, a confidence beyond yourself.

Photographer’s Contribute – More than half the people surveyed felt more connected to the local community and the world. They felt their photos were a contribution to the people around them and by taking their photos they were helping to beautify the world and preserve precious memories.

When you feel you are a part of something, rather than an observer, you feel much better as a human being. No one likes to feel like an outsider.

Funny thing is, once you feel better about yourself, others find you more attractive too.

I’ve often said, your confidence is the most attractive thing about you. In fact, confidence in who and what you are, and the things you can do are the biggest single determining factor in your success at everything in life.

Think about it. Aren’t you attracted to confident, energetic people? Regardless of any physical attributes they may have or lack thereof?

We just love people who are sure of their abilities and who don’t much care about the opinions of others.

You will be amazed at how confident you can become when you discover the hidden powers of the digital camera.

There are also more than a dozen other physical and mental health benefits you can get from digital photography.

For more information on these and other great tips for better photo taking, check out the special report, “Photo Health Manifesto” and my latest book, “Photo Fitness Phenomenon”.