Giving Thanks In Photography

Here’s the good news. We don’t have to buy anything or go anywhere to express our thanks. Gratitude only requires awareness. What are you grateful for as a photographer?

With the holidays of November and December coming round, our thoughts revolve around ideas of giving thanks. If we get caught up in rushing, doing and buying, we might refocus on just being alive. We can be thankful for nature’s gifts of sunshine, rain, and the sea. Gratefulness, from the Latin word ‘gratus’ for grace, is a vital part of our creative process. By cultivating habits of gratitude we enliven the ways we see and strengthen our soul.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” GK Chesterton, English writer, journalist, orator, art critic”

Tips On Gratitude

When life is disheartening, I take time to give thanks, and reflect on today’s blessings. When I awoke today, I was aware of a myriad of blessings: a roof overhead, clothes to keep warm and of a most precious gift – the blessing of freedom.

These thankful moments help me motivate myself to move, go out, and make photographs. For instance, the images here are pictures for which I am grateful.

See what you think of these ideas for giving thanks:

1. Turn what I have into enough. First, I am thankful for the gear I already own. It is more accurate, faster, and records images with much higher resolution than what I had 10 or even 5 years ago. Even more important, I try to give thanks for the people in my life whom I love or who have helped my art.

2. Give back a print. When I make a portrait of someone, I try to make a practice, to show my gratitude, of giving them a print. Instant photography cameras like the New Polaroid or a Fuji Mini are good for this practice.

3. Get beyond the images. There are many places where people need water, a roof, and food. I donate all the proceeds from print sales to help Bahamas island children impacted by hurricanes, when the kids need resources such as schools, food and shelter. The idea is to keep a larger purpose outside oneself in mind.

4. Be here now. As a photographer, I get addicted to the process and distracted from the vital goals. Hours can vanish managing photographic records, keeping up with social media, and organizing business marketing. What helps me make the day memorable is stopping the race, and making moments for giving thanks. Then, I try to put words into action.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy, US President

As a photographer, I am part of humanity. I have a body that feels. I can see nature’s wonders every day. I have opportunities to meet fascinating people through photography. Lastly, I have eyes and mind to see and perceive. All these wonders are more than enough, and together they are a living treasure.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie, Author, Relationship and Self Help

LINK: For more like this, click on to The Grateful Photographer

For National Geo photographers showing images for which they are grateful, see


All written content and photography in this article is copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Magazine should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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