This is how Photography is Psychology – Photo psychology

This is how Photography is Psychology – Photo psychology

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Having been an extreme enthusiast of photography and psychology for years now, I have always tried to come up with a connection between both “Photography” and “Psychology”. And after a lot of time practicing photography and searching psychology I have gathered enough information to talk on term Photo Psychology.

Photo psychology is a mixture of psychology and photography that aims at finding and explaining a connection between both “Psychology” and “Photography”. This connection can further be used as ambiguous pictures etc. to be used in psychotherapy or as general personality tests. It is also important to mention that psychology and photography goes hand in hand as psyche of photographer can dictate the end results in terms of photographs. How? Let me show you.

So let’s jump downwards to find a wonderful connection between psychology and photography according to what I have experienced and researched.

Left Brain- The Technical Photographer

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Left Brain Hemisphere

Abstract symbols / language
Mediated worldview
Order, predictability, redundancy
Absolutes / universals
Analytical / detached
Explicit / literal
Things / categories
Laws / regulations
God as know-er, ruler, designer

So according to multiple psychological researches done at various intervals at various institutions it has been found that our left part of brain is more flexed towards objective perceptions and thoughts. Like illustrated above it is part of brain which is analytical, explicit, literal, regulated and above all logical.

If we take this in terms of photography we would find that today’s photography is not all just creative it is a lot technical much that it has never been.

We as photographers have to deal with different camera modes which are all technical. We can have a good scenery with air breezing over flowers making an up most impressive moment but the real deal is that we would not be able to capture what we are seeing merely because we are not familiar with camera modes dial. But what if we run our technical left part of brain and come to know that the aperture priority page is going to be awesome because we can make aperture all the way up to f 32 to make the scenery tac sharp and splendid.

Similarly we have come across a long way. A way where there is a lot of lighting but in order to use all that lighting your creativity is not going to be enough until you make use of your left technical mind to know what buttons you have to press, how to assemble lights and how to set them up.

Plus your creativity is going to fail if you do not have enough knowledge of lenses as using a wildlife lens for macro is not going to be a great idea, so in this context what you are going to do? Well you got to use your technical mind. Right?

This is how your left side of mind governs your photography abilities and this is how a photographer who uses technical left side is a technical photographer. Period.

Right Brain- The Creative Photographer

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Right Hemisphere

Raw perceptions / feelings
Fluid experience
Novelty, intensity, spontaneity
Relativism / particulars
Empathetic / merged
Implicit / contextual
People / nature
Free will
Liberty / anarchy
God as love, spirit, and helper

Over and over multiple researches have been done to figure out what makes us creative and psychologists now have found that our right side of brain is responsible for subjective perceptions and thoughts like creativity, feelings, novelty, relativism, nature, anger, anarchy, happiness, liberty and yes spirit.

Technical knowledge of stuff is useful and comes handy while doing photography but it is not all what you need to have. Suppose a person having a lot of knowledge about lenses ends up shooting a sports scene with a wonderful 120-300 f2.8 lens. The images that results is nothing but, but…………. You know not just well. So you know where he lacked, it was not technical expertise but creativity.

This tells us how important creativity is. I think you all would know a guy having a minimal amount of gear an old crop sensor frame with a very basic kit lens but whenever he grabs his camera and clicks gold gets showered. Why? Because of creativity.

At this point I encourage you to open National Geographic photo of the day and look in detail Whether it was technical or creative you would find it is a lot momentous and creative then technical and this is what photography is all about using both parts of brain but putting right side of brain at edge as creativity is one to rule all. But definitely technical expertise is also something which can never be ignored.

This tells us that the creative photographers are as good as technical ones or may be in some cases better.

Mixed Brain – A Successful All Round Photographer

So we have come to the point where I have explained why both technical and creative sides of brain are essential in making or capturing a moment. So a good photographer would be one who uses best combination of gear with creativity to come up with a photo that no one has ever seen. There are more than many photographers that I can quote here to depict using both sides of brain is the only way to lead you towards success in photography.

Jason Lanier

Although at this point I can tag more than many photographers to prove success only comes when you use both sides of brain in photography but there is still something special about this guy. Go and check out this guy’s Instagram to find out the fantastic way this guy is using both technical knowledge to combine best gear and creativity to produce mouthwatering tasty, crispy and soulful images.

Plus this guy has also got a YouTube channel go and subscribe him to follow his amazing work. This guy shoots his photography workshops, and looking closely to those videos will reveal how this genius uses using both left and right side of brain to conquer shoots.

If you want to know if your mind is left sided or right sided you can have a lot of online personality tests.

Photo Psychology in psychotherapy

Portrait of a patient, Surrey County Asylum

Portrait of a patient, Surrey County Asylum by Hugh W.Diamond

In 1856 Photo psychology was first used by Hugh W. Diamond to analyze his patients’ psychology. Since then we have seen a boom in use of photography in analyzing patients psyche. The trick is real and simple first of all a photograph of a patient is snapped and if the diagnosis for depression is going on, expressions of patient are seen to determine what sort of depression he is going through. Yes! You got it right. It started like two centuries ago and now photography has achieved the potential to reveal what kind of psychological disturbance a person is going through.

Plus another thing that is in business is photo analysis what happens in this is that an ambiguous photo is shown to a person whose illness is to be determined and his answers based on photography articles reveal what is happening in his mind. Great! Is not it?

In above video a hypothetical reference has been given. You can see that WWE star Dean Ambrose is being evaluated psychologically through the photographs he is being shown. Off course this is staged by every means but we are not here to discuss if it is staged or not. I quoted this video here to just show you people how photography is being used for psychological evaluation.

Photo psychology in personality testing

From last few decades using photography to judge personality has been in business. Why? Because it is effective, fast and amazingly interesting way to judge someone’s personality.

Well there are several ways to judge personality based on photography. But one way I am going to tell you now is what have been discussed above, photo analysis. As it has been discussed above we won’t be wasting any further time on it. As we know now, this is an analytical psychology technique used in psychotherapy to treat patients but how it can be used in commercial and business sector to judge personality.

Actually the thing is simple by exposing someone with photos and asking their opinion on it you can judge someone based on his personality in a way you can find if a person is consistent or not if a person is more of objective type or subjective type and a lot more. But how? Well I am going to give you an example in above lines I said we can judge subjective or objective nature of a person, we can do that by:

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If someone sees above embedded picture and gets sad then it certainly means a person is having more of subjective feelings in him but if he sees the picture and just act it is just an accident which happens a lot in modern times then what he would be? More objective right. Although this one test will not be sufficient to see if a person is objective or subjective but some further pictures can definitely tell what sort of personality a person has.

Another way photography is used to analyze someone’s psychology is by using ambiguous pictures. Suppose a person has showed up for interview and he has been shown with a picture, a quite ambitious one. What would happen? Definitely that person will use his mind to complete the photo hence the part of mind he has used can later be analyzed by some expert leading to judging what he has got in his mid. Sounds quite like from a Hollywood movie right? But it is all true in today’s world. You cannot judge the possibilities that exist today but you can judge the personality of someone using photographs.


We have come to the point where it has been depicted, off course verbally how photography is psychology and vice versa. I mean using photos to reveal someone’s personality or using photos in psychotherapy is one thing but the way psychology is being used to analyze the technical or creative aspect of someone’s photography is just mind blowing and awesome.

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