Emotionally detach yourself from your photos

“Sometimes photographers mistake emotion for what makes a great street photograph.” – Garry Winogrand

Imagine this situation: it is a cold and rainy day. You are out shooting on the streets, and you are feeling miserable. You are about to give up and go home when you see a little girl with a red umbrella about to jump over a puddle. The girl jumps, and you click. You just captured the “decisive moment.”

You rush home, quickly download your photos to your computer, post-process the photo, and then upload the photograph online. You cross your arms, and think that it is one of the finest photographs you have ever taken. You are excited that perhaps, finally, you will get over 100+ favorites/likes on this image.

A day or so passes, and you only got 10-15 favorites/likes. You throw up your hands in rage and think to yourself: “These people on the internet wouldn’t know a great image if it hit them in the face!” You then continue about your day.

A week or two go by, and you revisit the image. You then look at the image and tell yourself: “Hmmm, this image isn’t quite as good as I remembered it.”

What just happened? You became emotionally attached to the backstory of how difficult it was to get that image (and the emotion you felt of being excited). This confused you into thinking that this was actually an “objectively” good shot.

This happens to the best of us. We get too emotionally attached to our shots, because we were there. We experienced it. It feels alive and vivid inside our memories.

The problem is that our viewers have no idea what the backstory of the image is (unless you write a long caption, which I generally advise against).

What is the solution? Emotionally detach yourself from your photos. When editing (selecting) which images to “keep” and “ditch,” ask your peers to be “brutally honest” with your work.

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