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The Beginning | Or “What the heck does psychology have to do with photography?!?”
When I left academic psychology and told people I was going into photography, I got a lot of slow blinks.
I had plenty of time to ponder the question “What does psychology have to do with photography?” because it was thrown at me dozens of times. And my answer?
Photography is fundamentally about people.
You probably take a lot of photographs of people. If not, then you’re probably selling photographs to people. And even if you’re not selling to people, then people are looking at your images. At some point in a photograph’s life span, it will interact with a human audience.
It follows, then, that becoming a better photographer should ideally involve understanding people better. And that is what this blog is poised to explore. People are both wonderfully unique and wonderfully predictable. Emotional and irrational, they make errors in judgment that are strikingly consistent, discard the better in favor of the familiar, and behave in many other ways that frustrate photographers immensely.
How about we stop being frustrated and start learning how to handle people better?
I studied psychology at Yale, then went on to earn a master’s degree in the field. And although my career move into photography bewildered many, what I learned in studying psychology has helped me immensely as a photographer. Academic research has produced a lot of fruits that are directly applicable to the business and practice of photography – but as far as I can see, this area remains largely unexplored.
I hope you’ll come along with me for this ride. We’ll look at why nearly everyone owns a camera, but people still claim they hate having their photo taken. We’ll talk about how people decide what to buy, and why they always want 8x10s when a 30×40 is what they need. We’ll look at what it takes to make a psych-savvy website.
This blog is not a lecture space. My suggestion box (see the menu bar) is a virtual door – always open. What are you struggling with? What bugs you about dealing with people in your business? I want to know – and we’ll explore answers together.