How to Have More Energy as a Photographer

Dear friend,

As photographers, the more energy we have— the better. More energy means more power to make photos. More energy means more ability to walk further distances, with less fatigue. More energy means we can get more “amped up” to shoot with more enthusiasm, life, and vigor!

Some ideas:

1. Have another shot (of espresso)

First of all, coffee. Coffee is a “hormetin”,a substance which makes our body stronger through “hormesis” (a process in the body in which when we’re subjected to a small poison or stressor, we get stronger).

Did you ever wonder why coffee gives us more energy?

Well, coffee is a plant that doesn’t want to get eaten by birds, small predators, bugs, etc. Therefore the coffee plant produces caffeine, which is its natural defense mechanism against predators —caffeine is a poison.

We’re lucky as humans that the effect of caffeine in coffee isn’t enough to kill us, only to give us an exhilarating buzz. And the truth is, we get a small adrenaline response from coffee/caffeine, which makes us more alert, increases our heart rate, energy, etc.

So first and foremost, drink more black coffee (no cream or sugar) throughout the day, and stop drinking at night to fall asleep. Of course, green tea and black tea are great too (both have caffeine as well).

2. Ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a diet high in fat and protein, and extremely low in carbohydrates, starch, and sugar. It’s a diet I’ve personally followed the last 5 years or so, with great results. The biggest result is having more energy, focus, strength, and power — also more muscle mass, with less body fat mass.

Essentially the big problem with eating sugar, carbohydrates, rice, starch, fruit juices, etc is this:

When you consume a sugary, starchy, or carbohydrate heavy meal, you get an insulin spike, which gives you a quick burst of energy, followed by a “food coma” (you get very sleepy and want to take a nap).

The way human metabolism works is this: your body wants to stay in a state of homeostasis, and therefore needs to regulate your blood sugar level. When you have a massive influx of carbohydrate, starch, or sugar rich food, your body injects insulin into your bloodstream, to try to stabilize your blood sugar levels —and this spike of insulin is what triggers fat storage and gain, and also causes “metabolic damage” over time. Diabetes can just be understood as “metabolic disease”—when our body is no longer able to regulate its own body sugar levels, due to the fact we are always causing massive dips and spikes in our insulin levels.

Anyways, to offset this effect, it’s better to eat fatty-protein rich foods, such as eggs (including yolk), as well as fatty meats such as steak, ribs, belly, etc. The reason is that these foods don’t cause as much of a dramatic spike in our body sugar/insulin levels.

Personally, I follow “intermittent fasting”, which keeps me sharper throughout the day, with more energy and focus.

3. Don’t drink caffeine at night

Even though I’m a coffee addict, I’m quite strict about not having coffee or any other stimulants at night after dinner. This is because it will ruin my sleep, which is the best way to rebuild and recharge your body, to have the highest energy for the next day.

I honestly think that 99% of energy is just having a good night sleep.

I also make it a point not to do logistical work at night, or all these random ideas will keep me up, preventing me from sleeping.

Other practical suggestions include using the “Twilight” app on Android to add a red filter to your phone to prevent your eyes from being stimulated by the blue light of your phone. I believe iPhone calls this the “night shift” mode. And install “Flux” app on your MacBook laptop at night.

4. Shoot things which stimulate you!

The exciting thing in photography is to shoot subject matter which pumps you up and gives you energy! For example when I shoot street photography and talk to strangers, I get a massive high.

So in other words, don’t shoot stuff which bores you.

5. Take a nap

If you’re super super tired, just take a nap! Take a nap in the taxi or Uber, on a bench at the park, on the grass, or on the chairs at the airport. Travel with an eye mask and some earplugs. All you need is a 15 minute or 30 minute nap, and you’ll be recharged, just like a mobile battery pack charger!

Stay hyped and optimize to maximize your energy during the day!


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