A study has found "complex benefits" associated with taking one image per day and sharing it with an online community.

The study—which is co-authored by the University of Sheffield's Dr. Andrew Cox and Lancaster University's Dr. Liz Brewster and published in the Journal Health—is titled "The daily digital practice as a form of self-care: Using photography for everyday well-being" and it looked at the photography habits of participants for two months. The study's authors called this daily posting a "Digital Daily Practice," and they looked at both what the participants took pictures of, and how they interacted with others on the site where the images were posted. Their conclusion:

Photo-a-day is not a simple and uncomplicated practice; rather it is the complex affordances and variance within the practice that relate it to well-being. We conclude that this practice has multi-faceted benefits for improving well-being.

These "multi-faceted benefits" included decreased loneliness due to interaction with the online community, increased exercise and other self-care, and "the potential for reminiscence."

Interacting with others through the online photo service appears to be a key part of the benefits, with one participate explaining, "It could be a rubbish photograph but if somebody commented on it, it made it worthwhile." Other participants saw benefits from different aspects of the action, such as snapping an image as a way to take brief break from an otherwise stressful job.

If you'd like to peruse the full study for yourself, you can find it here.