How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk for Fun, Joy & Well-Being

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk

If you’re looking for a simple way to reconnect with yourself and the world around you, try a mindful photo walk!

Life moves fast these days and we could all use a few more well-being tools to help us stay calm and grounded. You know, something enjoyable that provides a mini-getaway for the brain & body.

But, have you ever considered using your camera as a way to stay grounded in the present?

Well, a mindful photo walk is a wonderful way be present through the medium of photography.

It’s an enjoyable way to bring your attention to the present moment and give your stressed-out brain a break. All you need is a smartphone or camera, a few minutes, and presto… you have yourself a simple tool for better well-being.

How to Take a Mindful for Fun, Joy & Well-Being

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As an enthusiastic wellness advocate and travel coach, I think mindful photo walks hit the sweet spot for a self-care practice.

They incorporate multiple elements of well-being, you can do it just about anywhere and it involves photography. Which is a hobby so many of us love!

Fancy a go? Let’s dive in!

What is a Mindful Photography?

Mindfulness is about slowing down and using your senses to be in the present moment.

Mindfulness can be brought to any daily activity and mindful photography is about incorporating mindfulness into the medium of photography.

It’s an approach that aligns more with being present for the process, than worrying about the technical aspects of photography or being set on a certain outcome.

How to take a Photo Walk for Fun, Joy & Well-Being

Mindful photo walks are something I’ve been doing for years. Except, well… I never called them that, until recently.

I love wandering with my camera, so photography is often on my travel agenda. Over time, these walks became an essential self-care tool, simply born out of practice.

In some ways it was intentional. As a photography lover, photo walks are an easy way to find my happy place. In addition, it suited my wellness travel style by keeping me active.

Yet, as the mindfulness movement grew and I learned more about myself, it became clear there was more to these walks than met the eye.

The Benefits of a Mindful Photo Walk

A mindful photo walk combines three basic elements: walking, mindfulness and photography. Making it an ideal way to tend to your mental & physical health. It also allows to to tap into your creativity and embrace the novelty of being somewhere new, which is engaging and fun!

Walking is great for the mind & body. Mindfulness keeps you engaged with the moment. And photography is an ideal way to experience flow, an awesome natural high!

It’s also worthy to note that studies show mindful photography can lead to increased meaning, appreciation and happiness. Sweetening the deal even more!

Mindful photography helps you tap into a deeper meaning, by acknowledging the simple pleasures in life.

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk

With practice, my photo walks have evolved to include other well-being elements, like gratitude & reflection.

People often ask me about mindful photography. As an educator & coach, I enthusiastically encourage everyone to explore it for themselves, to see how it resonates with them.

So, in this post I want to share a simple 5 step process for taking a mindful photo walks. That way, you can take it with you on your next adventure and explore for yourself.

What You Need for a Mindful Photo Walk

Here’s all you need for a walk:

  1. A camera, any camera. Even a phone camera will do. But, take the camera you are most comfortable with, that way you don’t get caught up in worrying about settings. And opt for just one lens, it helps you to stay more focused on the experience.

  2. Minimize Distractions: If you are shooting with your cell phone or even have one with you, set it to airplane mode. That way you won’t get distracted or interrupted and you can relax into your flow.

  3. Pack Light: Only bring what you will need for the time and place you’ve chosen. It makes it that much easier to be present. You can even keep a go-to bag ready with your essentials.

  4. You, yourself and an open mind: You may have a general route in mind, or you may choose to wander without agenda. Maybe you bring some company or go solo. Either way, just allow the process unfold and definitely let the photos find you.

Where to Take a Mindful Walk

So, where is the perfect place for a photo walk? Honestly, anywhere you want!

Spending time in nature is a good choice as it naturally elevates well-being.

Yet, you can take a mindful photo walk anywhere. Even in a big city like London or Rome, mindfulness is within reach.

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk

Keep in mind that there is no set time for taking a mindful photo walk, so you can choose a time and place that interests you and works for your schedule.

You can choose a general route, explore a hiking trail or go where the wind blows, it’s up to you.

Just remember, even a 5 minute walk is enough to clear your head and bring you joy!

Step 1: Anchor Yourself with Stillness

It’s good to sync the mind and body before you begin your photo walk. So start by taking a few minutes of quiet time to anchor yourself in the moment.

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk

Take a few deep breaths, give thanks for the opportunity to explore and be present with your experiences.

Turn off your inner critic, resist the temptation to judge what you encounter and simply let the day unfold. Just relax and be with the beauty of the world.

Life is a gift, make it count.

Step 2: Engage Your Senses

Engaging your senses is the best way to get out of your head and be present in the moment.

Start by observing…look and then look again.

Climb high or sink down low to change your perspective and get a different view. Look up, down, right and left and settle on whatever grabs your attention.

Above all, let your intuition guide you.

5 Simple Steps to a Mindful Photo Walk

Listen, what do you hear? How does it make you feel connected with the moment?

What textures are around you? Move in with your feet and explore more.

Are there any smells in the air? Does it make you want to get up close and personal?

While mindful photography is visually driven, the experience is enhanced by using your other senses. So, just think of using your senses as the path to mindfulness.

Step 3: Wander with Curiosity

Creativity helps us on our journey of self-discovery and well-being, so follow your curiosity and see where it leads!

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk for Fun, Joy & Well-Being

Being curious can lead to creativity. Which then leads to flow, an enjoyable state where we are more mindful and relaxed.

Curiosity is also strongly associated with life satisfaction and meaning. Both of which are tied into well-being. So, find your story, the one that is waiting to be told.

Step 4: Be Intentional

Capture your moments with intention.

Digital photography gives you lots of room to play and experiment. Yet, you don’t want to get caught up on autopilot mode and take hundreds of photographs.

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk

Take a moment and frame your shot.

Use your powers of observation to capture that exact moment in front of you. Decide what elements you want to include in the photo, and what you want to leave out.

At this point, I often will take a slow breathe before I shoot. It helps me sink into the experience and savor the moment. In addition, I often wait and review the photos later. It helps me to stay better connected with the moment and then I get to really enjoy reminiscing.

But, experiment and see what works for you.

Step 5: Reflect & Journal

Mindful activities give your brain the space to discover itself.

Thinking about and reflecting on what you do helps you learn from your experiences. So take some time to reflect and journal about your photo walks.

When you’re done, notice how you feel. Do you feel calmer, energized or more grounded?

Simply write about your experiences. Consider what resonated with you and what you really enjoyed about the process.

How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk for Fun, Joy & Well-Being

Sitting outdoors at the end of a walk is a great place to reflect and benches are ideal places to stop and relax. In addition, I like to combine this part with my favorite morning ritual, cappuccino!

The more we practice mindfulness, the more self-aware we become. Ultimately, this awareness contributes to well-being by leading us to be more confident and proactive in our lives.

The Bonus Step: Joyfully Share

Photography is inspiring. It stirs the emotions and helps us connect with life. So, don’t forget to share all of that happiness and deepen the meaning of your experience.

Sharing is a simple way to extend your own joy and connect with others, which boosts everyone’s well-being. Maybe it’s a shot of something meaningful to you or that one you thing you know someone else would love, but get that goodness out into the world.

5 Steps to Taking The Perfect Photo Walk

The Mindful Photo Walk & Creativity

If you are interested in finding tapping into your creativity as you explore, here are two simple ideas:

  • With an I Phone, set the camera to portrait mode. This is a simple way to give your photos more depth of field and help a single subject stand out.

  • Try a telephoto lens for more depth of field. While choosing this lens is a stylistic choice, a blurred background can completely change my experience with being aware of the details. My favorite lens for this is a Lensbaby Velvet. It creates a wonderful ethereal affect and is ideal in the summer, when the flowers are in bloom. In fact, several of the photos on this page were captured in The Cotswolds with this lens.

Want more insights about what mindful photo walks can look like while traveling? Try these articles:

So, are you ready to give mindful photography a whirl?

Wherever you roam, may you be reenergized and refreshed by connecting with the world around you!

until the next time…
…live well-travel well-be well

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How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk for Better Well-Being

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Travel Coach, Health Educator, photographer & coffee lover who calls italy home

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I'm Deanna, Your
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Wellness is my path & passion. Integrating my life's work in Education & Sports Medicine, with my love of travel, I created T & I to help you craft meaningful adventures that recharge the mind, body, & spirit. It's a space of inspiration, empowerment & well-being. Come and join me on the journey...

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