Why You Must Photograph What You’re Passionate About


To never run out of inspiration in your photography, you must only photograph what you’re passionate about.

Definition of passion

Cindy red hand on face, floor, Kyoto
Kyoto, 2016 #cindyproject

First of all, what is ‘passion’?

Passion comes from the latin: “passio” (which means ‘suffering’). For example, we can say the “passion of Jesus Christ” (when Jesus suffered on the cross).

In modern society, when we say we are “passionate” about something, we actually mean that we are “enthusiastic” about something. Enthusiasm comes from the ancient Greek “entheos” (possessed by god’s). En = in, Theos: god, Ousia = essence. So Enthusiasm means to be “possessed by a God (or Gods)”, and that you have the essence of a God (or Gods) within yourself.

Why I like passion

Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject black and white shower blurry
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

I still prefer the term “passion” because it is a more emotional, fervent, and sacrificial word.

To me, to be “passionate” is to have a burning fire within your heart– something that you feel so strongly about that you will feel pain and suffering as a consequence.

The reason I like the word “passionate” is because if you truly care about something, it ain’t all roses and easy. It is hard. To pursue your passion is difficult, challenging, and often painful.

Broken glass. Hanoi, 2017 black and white
Broken glass. Hanoi, 2017

For example I am passionate about, photography, philosophy, teaching, sociology, economics, entrepreneurship, and of course more specifically– street photography.

Motivate yourself

Pinocchio nose. Downtown LA, 2015

To pursue what you are passionate about means to be self-driven, self-motivated, and to run on your own inner-fire. It means that you don’t need others to “motivate” you to pursue what you are passionate about. It means having bravery, confidence, and courage to put yourself out there– because you want to give birth to the art you are passionate about. It means you also want to help empower others in their passion.

If you aren’t passionate about what you do or photograph, you will lose enthusiasm for what you want to photograph. You will lose the zest, and you will lose inspiration/motivation to make photos.

What do you find meaningful in your life?

Cindy red scarf selfie Berlin, 2017 #cindyproject
Berlin, 2017 #cindyproject

In practical terms, this means:

Only photograph what you are passionate about.

If you don’t care about what you photograph, why photograph it?

To me, I only photograph what I love or care about. I only photograph what I am curious about. I only photograph people, things, and scenes where I can see my own soul.

My mom glasses, busan, portrait
My mom getting her eyes checked. Busan, 2013

As a photographer, you determine meaning. Which means, you only photograph what is personally-meaningful to you. Thus when you share your photos with others, you are telling them:

“This is what I find meaningful in my life and in the world around me.”

As a photographer, you are a judge. You make a judgement on what is meaningful to you or not. You distinguish what is beautiful by photographing only what you find beautiful.

Distinguish what you photograph

Cindy passed out after studying. Marseille, 2014
Cindy passed out after studying. Marseille, 2013

“To encourage means to distinguish.” – Ferdinando Galiani

To stay encouraged in your photography, distinguish what you find meaningful in your life.

For example,

  1. Photograph your loved ones (friends, family, children, parents) — Personal Photography
  2. Honor thy selfie (shoot selfies of yourself)
  3. Photograph colors that bring a smile to your face, try shooting red-green combinations.
  4. Shoot street photographs of strangers who you feel an emotional connection with (can you empathize with them, or feel the emotions they feel?)
  5. Don’t listen to what others tell you to photograph: Only photograph what you want to photograph.

What if I’ve lost my passion for photography?

Eric Kim Selfie. Amsterdam, 2017

If you’ve lost your passion for photography, that is OK. Take a break from photography. Learn how to draw instead (pick up CREATIVE EVERYDAY: Print Edition or CREATIVE EVERYDAY: Mobile Edition).

I personally started to do lots of iPad traces of famous painters like Piet Mondrian, and Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, to re-inspire myself in photography. After taking a momentary break from photography, I was able to re-engage myself in photography with more passion, more insights, and more inspiration.

Or I recommend you to study the masters of photography, and find inspiration from them.

Also, try to do different forms of art, like try to teach yourself how to use GarageBand to make beats. I started to make my own beats in GarageBand, and started to add my own photographs, and been having a lot of fun.

Or try to do things with the photographs you already have. Print out your photos, make a photo album, or make a simple video slideshow of your own photos in iMovie.

Never stop making art until you die

Abstract Eric Kim Tokyo iPad Sketch with Procreate
Abstract Eric Kim Tokyo iPad Sketch with Procreate

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of art you make– as long as you just make art which is faithful, genuine, and personal to yourself.

You can make photos, make paintings, make illustrations, whatever.

Never keep experimenting, following your artistic curiosity, and having fun.



Show your pride for street photography with I SHOOT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY ARTWEAR by ANNETTE KIM.

Freshly Pressed: STREET HUNT Print Edition


STREET HUNT Print Edition is your personal guide to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and to embark on new, exciting, and fun street photography adventures!


Buy on Amazon

New eBook: HOW TO SEE: Visual Guide to Composition, Color, & Editing in Photography

HOW TO SEE is your new personal visual acuity manual to learn to “SEE” composition, color, and the world!

Learn More >



Creative Everyday by HAPTIC
Creative Everyday by HAPTIC


See all articles >

Scroll to Top