What is your morning routine?
I usually wake up around 6:00am. I’ll have some silent time to myself, I also keep a journal so some days I’ll write. I generally answer some emails and then I may cook breakfast or just eat fruit.
When I’m not photographing for hire I’m usually out the door by 7-7:30am with my camera in hand, ready to enjoy the day.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
My routine changes from time to time, but I always wake up early. The morning is by far my favorite time of day. As a street photographer, I’m always engaging with people, watching people, walking all day, and being fully stimulated all at the same time, day in and day out. Days become full and draining. It’s important that I get some quiet time to myself, it helps me stay balanced in such an emotional city.
When I’m working on photo projects I will adapt my routine to it. Two years ago when I was working in a photo studio I would leave my house at 7:00am because I wanted to photograph in the subways for an hour or two before I had to be at work. Now that it’s summertime and the light is so beautiful when the sun is rising I like to get out and take advantage of it.
What time do you go to sleep?
Usually around midnight to 1:00am.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I’m a neat freak and I like everything to be clean. Waking up to a clean apartment is the absolute best. It keeps my mind clear.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I do use an alarm, but my body usually wakes up before then.
It’s also the summer time, so my answer may be a bit different when the winter rolls around. Usually I’m up between 6-7:00am. There are times when I’m just really tired and I’ll hit the snooze button as many times as possible. That’s when the perks of being a freelance photographer really comes into play! Outside of jobs that I’m hired for, I can really make my own schedule. So if I need to change something up in my routine because I need to catch up on sleep, that’s totally ok and doable.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Two or three times out of the week I’ll ride my bike to Prospect Park and do a lap or two. It’s great because there aren’t many people out yet, and the park is pretty quiet. My favorite is in the fall when we start to get that brisk morning air; the ride is so refreshing.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
Waking up in a clean apartment, beautiful light shining through my windows, and Miles Davis playing is my meditation.
I consider my thoughts and morning writing in my journal meditation. I don’t practice traditional meditation. For me, meditation happens in the mind… all of the time.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I’ll check my phone before I leave the house, for sure, but I try not to check it while I’m in bed.
When I’m just waking up I like to keep a space for my own thoughts and ideas. Sometimes it’s nothing, and that’s totally fine. On occasions I’ll think of something that will add to a project I’m working on, or simply just reflect on something that impacted me, whether that be an interaction from photography or just a personal exchange. When I wake up, checking my phone is not a priority of mine.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Coffee and sweet tea.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I don’t typically leave my house as early on weekends.
On weekends The New York Times is delivered to my apartment so I like to read through that. I really like The New York Times Magazine because they usually feature an artist and their work. This is sort of a weekend ritual, but I’m not always inspired to look through the paper. So other times I may just sit and listen to music.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I do, I will still wake up early. Instead of typing I’ll just write in a notebook. I always need my morning coffee.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
The routine isn’t as important as waking up early is. As long as I’m up early I’m happy. As I mentioned before, having that quiet time to myself is important. I also hate to feel rushed. When I start my day calm, and in order, I’m setting myself up to have a good one.
Life is always changing, I just like to have my personal time before my day gets going.
Photo of Andre by Andrew Ryan Shepherd.