Why you can't find time to take pictures

+ Six of my friends who are getting it right

You don't want to. That's the simple answer, but it's more complicated than that, isn't it? You have to work. Gotta earn a living. You have a family. Gotta be responsible. You have friends and other obligations. Gotta be balanced.

It's hard to find time for pictures.

And it's not because you don't want to… You would, if you had more time, right? Here's the ugly truth. You aren't going to find more time. You can make more time, if you really want to create art, grow your talent, or document the world around you. Try these strategies.

Schedule smaller chunks.

We often think we have to take off the entire afternoon or morning to do a photo walk. Imagining the task so big makes it easier to defer. How about a photo project where you use the first 15 minutes of your lunch break to photograph something. It can be even shorter than that. Diahn Ott did a Project 365 one year where she photographed her family every day at 8 am. Soon she built a fascinating catalog of faces and expressions. You could tell which days they had coffee before 8:00 am and after 8:00 am. She scheduled a small chunk of time every morning to get her photos in.

Build it into existing hobbies.

If you know you are spending time with another interest or hobby, try pairing the two. Photography doesn’t have to exist individually. I love the way Ali Drew does this. She is seriously into her Mini Cooper cars. I think she is even an officer in the Mini Cooper association. Yes, that kind of devotion. If you follow Ali’s blog or postings, you will find her Mini Cooper, Tigger, and those of her friends show up in a lot of her work. If the Mini Cooper club is out congregating with their cars, Ali is taking photos of them.  

Make it a daily project.

I harp on Project 365 because the public commitment to shoot daily can be an incredible motivation to find the time. Emily Carter never ceases to amaze me with this one. Emily already shoots more than most casual enthusiasts, but she has been disciplined since beginning her Project 365 exercise this year. I don’t think she’s missed a day yet. She’s photographing birds and barns, flowers and sometimes just the cracks in the sidewalk.  It looks like she is having a ball.

Make it a part of your family time.

You don’t have to choose between children and photography if you include them in your passion. In fact, today’s youth are growing up with cameras on phones and iPods. Photography is not a big deal for many of them. You might find them happy to create with you. Tony Mayo does this with his daughter. On last night’s webinar, he talked about photographing Cherry Blossoms while she held his flash off camera. Dad and daughter bonding time over creative lighting. Gotta love that. I saw them do the same thing on one of my night photography workshops. She had her own camera, but it was great to see them working on shots together.

Use it with your work or calling.

You can find so many ways to make your camera part of your business or calling. These days, it can be an easy way to help with your marketing and PR.

Connie Thompson is a pastor in Manassass, VA who uses photography as a part of her ministry. Her latest idea was to use a 100 Strangers approach to take photos of people in her community. Her church would then pray for the people in the images. Amen to that.

Take a camera everywhere.

It really doesn’t matter what kind. Take your camera phone. Take your point & shoot. Heck, take your DSLR. My good friend Steve Rosenbach shamed me with this one. We met for lunch one day and saw an interesting leaf. Steve whipped out his point & shoot and went to work. I looked on feeling silly that I didn’t have a camera with me. I never showed up again camera-less.

Permit yourself to take bad pictures.

We can overcome perfection paralysis by taking more bad photos. Many times we won’t even bother to take a picture because the conditions aren’t ideal. Who wants to take a bad photo? Local photography instructor Sam D’Amico once wrote a blog post that challenged us to take that shot anyway. It’s a cop out to wait until conditions are ideal. Take the crappy situation and challenge yourself to find something interesting. You might not end up with a bad photo if you are open to taking one. Does that make sense?

There you go. Six ways to make time for pictures. Your clock still has 24 hours in a day. Your minutes still tick away 60 seconds at a time. Our challenge is being more deliberate about making your pictures a priority. Make the time. If you really want to.

Are you struggling to find time to shoot? What strategies do you use to make time?