Therapeutic Photography

Therapeutic Photography

Photography can be therapeutic. Sometimes you just need a “photo fix” when you “just gotta get out and make some pics.” It’s the good feeling you get when you pick up the camera, click the shutter, look at the LCD and say, “WOW.” It’s mandatory, medicinal, required, and underrated to maintain your pixel personality, your digital desire and Photoshop psychology. When is photo therapy needed? If you’re a hard-core photographer, the answer is All The Time. The more feasible answer is when you need to break free from the rut and get into the field. Let’s dig deeper into the world of photo therapy as you relax on my photographic sofa.

Shutter Release: Shutter release occurs when an overwhelming feeling of ecstasy is experienced when you press the shutter and know you nailed the shot. The timing is spot on, the action is frozen or poetic depending on the desired effect and the subject is majestic. Shutter release is gratifying and accompanied with an emphatic YES the instant the image is made. Think about what the word release means—release yourself of your worries. Now you know the real reason the button is called a shutter RELEASE!

Therapeutic Photography

LCD Relief: LCD relief goes hand in hand with an anxious unknown. The unknown is when you hope you attained shutter release, but you’re not quite sure. The photo is made, but an intrepid hesitance occurs as you yearn to look at the LCD to verify you attained shutter release. Hesitance surfaces because if you didn’t, there may be disappointment. LCD relief occurs when you summon the courage to hit the playback button and repeat out loud, “Please be sharp, please be sharp.” You zoom into the photo on the back of the LCD to confirm it’s sharp at 100%, and it is. The same emphatic shutter release feeling of, “YES,” resounds.

Aperture Anxiety: Aperture anxiety is experienced in two different ways. For some situations, the photographer needs infinite depth of field to make a successful image, while for a different photograph, selective focus may be more effective. Thankfully, aperture anxiety is easy to overcome, as it’s one of the more treatable Photo Therapy maladies. The same way many photographers bracket exposures to make sure they wind up with a perfect histogram, when in doubt, bracket apertures. Photograph the same scene using every aperture available on the given lens. For certain, one will prove to be the most advantageous. Upon seeing the bracketed results, it becomes easier to predict the results of a given aperture. Focus stacking may come into play when Aperture Anxiety is difficult to handle.

Therapeutic Photography

Motor Drive Madness: So you want to shoot action but don’t want to spend infinite hours in front of the computer editing your work. An analogy to ponder goes something like this—think about a great beer or fine wine. Too much nets you a headache and hangover while too little leaves your taste buds feeling a bit cheated. If you experience motor drive madness, find a happy medium to prevent the headache of countless editing hours if you take the machine gun approach. On the other hand, don’t leave your taste buds hanging by being too conservative. Wait for the action to get near peak and then begin to shoot. As soon as it wanes, lay off the shutter. Don’t press the shutter just because it sounds cool to fire nine or 10 frames per second. Edit Before Pressing The Shutter.

Coping With Composition: Coping is the process of dealing with demands that are thought to be overwhelming. Rather than let a composition overwhelm you, think about how to arrange all the elements that appear in the viewfinder in an orderly and satisfying way. Don’t let background distractions pull the eye away from the primary subject. Use the light so it directs the viewer to the main parts of the composition. Use lines that lead the eye to key parts in the viewfinder. The better you cope with the elements that fall in front of the lens, the less photo therapy you’ll need. In the end, the cool, calm and levelheaded photographer nets images that successfully include the above therapy lessons.

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Photography is what motivates me to move through life in a positive way. Photography is ͞All About The Light͟ and it’s the first thing I seek out before I press the shutter. Optimally, I pursue great subjects in great light, but if there’s an ordinary subject in great light, I still press the shutter. I love to share the photographic knowledge I’ve accumulated and I hope my enthusiasm is contagious so I can motivate others to feel the same way I do about my photography.


    Thanks for the Therapy Session, Dr. Burden, I was overdue. 🙂

    The most challenging part of reading your articles, Russ, are deciding which is better: Your prose, or your photographer. Both are excellent.

    I feel so much better after getting my Russ Burden-Release. Thank you!

    Bravo, Russ!

    I’m currently very busy re-kindling my interest in photography after a too long break. I’m thrilled that I found this site and will look forward to reading more gems like the one above. Fantastic stuff.
    Many thanks,
    Russ Railton

    James – thanks for the kudos regarding my photos and writing – both are a passion. Use the Tips well – this is my prescription for you! 😉

    Russell – please check the Photo Tip of the Week archives as I have hundreds posted and will continue to post a new one every Monday!


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