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I’ve been shooting photographs for many years now. As a kid, before I had a camera, I watched other people with cameras and always wanted one of my own. Although I’ve never thought of photography as a profession, I now have plenty of cameras in my arsenal. Sometimes I’m paid for my photos, but photography fulfills other needs, too. Not that I don’t like money…I do. But my corporate job taught me that sometimes you just have to do things that are good for your soul. Here are four reasons why, apart from the money, I love to be a photographer: 1. FOREVER ON A MISSION Taking photos while I travel gives me a purpose. From scenery to tourist sites, I love exploring everything a place has to offer. Perhaps I got this from my corporate job, but I really like having an agenda. Since my husband is a travel writer, this works well for us. He gets assignments to write articles, and suddenly we’ve got a mission. 2. IT’S ALWAYS FUN I can’t think of anything more fun than to capture the people, the food, the colors, and the markets and architecture in a new place. Having photo assignments helps me plan my day while I’m there, and it gives me something to do while my husband is having a nap, or reading. I do all sorts of things I wouldn’t normally do when I’m shooting photos for travel articles. Travel photography gives me an excuse to sleuth around our hotel and go for walks around town. It makes me wake up early, talk to people, and look for better perspectives. As a side benefit, my husband gets some nice photos to accompany the travel stories he writes when we get home. 3. THE PERFECT CREATIVITY OUTLET I’ve always enjoyed doing arts and crafts, but creativity took a back seat while I was working full-time. Photography teaches me to try to see things differently. How can I capture a scene that’s been photographed a million times and come up with something unique? Can I create a photo that expresses emotion and makes the reader of the photograph feel emotion? What processing will bring out the best elements in my photos? I find the creative questions posed by photography an enjoyable challenge. There are so many ways to explore creativity with photography that I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the end of my list. 4. MORE “ME” TIME Finally, photography gives me “alone time” to shoot the things I love to shoot. I often steal out on solo photo field trips to experiment with my camera…and play. Yesterday, I was at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle watching the rambunctious four-month-old lion cubs playing with their parents. A huge crowd was watching this adorable spectacle. I spent a lot of time capturing all kinds of shots of the playful cubs while little kids (and their parents) screamed, squealed, and laughed all around me. Normally screaming kids drive me nuts, but with a camera in my hand, the noise seemed to disperse into muffled sound effects while I focused on shooting. I’m in my own little world and everything is good. I go out on these solo photo shoots as often as possible but never often enough. And I always feel refreshed at the end, even though I’ve been on my feet for hours, in rain, wind or cold temperatures. I don’t notice any distractions while I’m shooting. Yes, I mostly play with photography. I’m sure I’m passing up tons of opportunities to earn money. But frankly, it makes me happy just as it is, so I’ll keep to this path for now and let it be good for my spirit. Share on Facebook

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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