How Photography Can Be a Mindful Practice

Looking at the world through the lens on your iPhone? Here are three ways to take better pictures, but more importantly, take a moment to really see what’s in front of you.

You are walking through the wide open spaces of a leafy park on a bright summer day. As you continue, dark clouds gather in the distant sky, moving toward you. You might notice how the light suddenly changes; how the foliage looks darker and the greens look richer; how the many shades of gray in the clouds give them more texture and shape.

Or else you might start worrying about oncoming rain, a spoiled outing, and the likelihood of getting drenched.

There are always two ways we can experience the world: directly or covered over by thoughts.

Photography can o er us a way to get in touch with fresh, direct experience. More often, though, it’s just another blip in the ow of our inner chatter: “I like this.”

“I don’t like that.” “Interesting.” “Boring.” “Not worth shooting at all.” “These things will make a great photograph.” Snap.

But there’s another approach to photography that many people have been discovering over the past few years. Contemplative photography is a meditative practice that invites you into the richness of direct perception. It’s not a technique for making images that look “contemplative” but a method for seeing the world in fresh ways…

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Mindful Staff

Mindful Staff editors work on behalf of Mindful magazine,, and the Foundation for a Mindful Society to write, edit and curate the best insights, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully.