Life is full of challenges, obstacles, and problems. The inability to manage these challenges could cause stress. Stress is the body’s natural defense against danger. It causes the body to flood with hormones that prepare its systems to evade or confront danger. People commonly refer to this as the fight-or-flight mechanism. However, stress can become a chronic condition if a person does not take steps to manage it.

According to the Statistics Canada General Social Survey, work is the main source of stress for 6 to 10 highly stressed workers. Below is the percentage of the highly stressed employed population aged 20 to 64.

• Work 62%
• Finances 12%
• Time 12%
• Family 8%
• Personal other 6%

The process of photography-from visualizing to composing and setting up your exposure to manipulate light requires focus. This process by nature is meditative that draws you into a creative state, which helps to reduce stress. In this sense, photography is mindfulness.

Based on research, The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. Scientists analyzed and reported a summary of over 100 studies focusing on the effects of art on physical and psychological health, Photography does not just allow you to express yourself, it also helps bring focus to positive life experiences, enhances your self-worth, and even reduces the stress hormone cortisol. It turns out that taking photos gives you a perspective in more ways than one.

Since photography positively impacts our mental and physical health, I decided to host a Photography workshop as a form of therapy for destressing. Phone cameras reaching a phenomenal level of quality, many people already have what’s needed to take up the photography as a hobby. This workshop was not to rattle information about photography but to inspire and experience the benefits of Photography.

This workshop was published and promoted through Facebook and posters were displayed at both Richmond Libraries. Registration for this workshop was done through the Eventbrite website.

We had a lot of fun during this workshop, all participants learnt the technical and creative aspects of photography and got the opportunity to practice them as well. We planned two fun photography competitions to motivate everyone to practice and take awesome photos.

The first competition was during the workshop. The participants were given an assignment at the end of the theory session and we asked everyone to go around and take photos using the techniques we learnt during the workshop and submit 3-5 photos. We reviewed these photos during our constructive criticism session. Based on the feedback, everyone selected one amazing photo and the winner was awarded a Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L Camera Bag.

The second competition was after the workshop. All participants were given one week to take photos around their neighbourhood and share them. The winning photo was selected based on public voting. The winner was given a Peak Design Tote camera bag. This encouraged everyone just not to go out and take photos but also to enjoy the benefits of photography.

Some feedback from participants who attended this workshop –
"I totally recommend De-stress with Photography Workshop. We learned a lot about how to use a Camera (From basic settings to how to hold a Camera correctly) and how to take better pictures. Really fun way to explore our creativity. Thanks Anton!" – Ana Maria Sanzana Ojeda

"I bought a professional camera in 2016, but honestly I was never able to use it properly. After Anton workshop I finally feel I'll be able to use my camera features to take great pictures without the auto mode Totally recommended" – Francisco Jiménez

"The De-Stress with Photography workshop is perfect not only for beginners but also for people who wants to refresh their memory on the basics. It's so much fun, informative, and very rewarding to apply all the skills we learned into our photographs. Thank you so much again for a great workshop!" – Aubrey Marie Clarito

"I end up buying Z50. You’re a great influence " – Juliani Kusmanto

Thank you NSG for supporting this workshop. It was a great opportunity to help our community benefit from taking up photography as a hobby.

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