We all have our own definitions of beauty. The color red may be bold, beautiful, and invigorating to some, while to others it has a different meaning, feeling, or emotion (or lacks one if you are colorblind). A grungy, rundown building that smells like piss and mildew may be a scary, undesirable place to photograph for you, but for someone else, it is glorious, glamorous and beautiful. The definition of beautiful is, well, flexible.

I know that I photograph things that I think are beautiful. A delicious and flavorful plate of pasta, a serene beach scene with rocks and flowing water or a wall of colorful laundry hanging out to dry … to me, all of these things are beautiful.

A photograph may not be a living, breathing being, but it emits the energy of beauty if you treat it that way. For you, that may mean reassuring a nervous teenager who is unsure of herself in front of a camera, or gently and carefully placing a fragile piece of mint in a cup filled with chocolate mousse. Being aware of your subject’s needs shows that you care, and as in many crafts, a careful touch will help to create a beautiful work of art.

Life is a mirror. When you smile at someone, the person will usually smile back. When you spend time with your subject to get that perfect shot, it will show. And when you treat someone or something with love, care and respect, your photograph will reflect that.