Nobody Wants to Look at Your Photos

Kyoto, 2016
Kyoto, 2016

Dear friend,

I want to share you a secret; nobody wants to look at your photos.

Psychological biases

The biggest problem that we make as photographers is that we over-value our own work. We assume that everyone else will be as enthusiastic about our photos as much as we are.

But in reality — everyone is scrambling to have others look at their work.

And nobody really cares about your photos, nor do they really care to look at it.

Be (slightly) cynical

We are all self-interested. When it comes to social media, be skeptical. All those people who like you, and follow you — do they really like your work? Or are they just liking/following you so you will like/follow them back?

Make photos for yourself

Kyoto, 2016
Kyoto, 2016

The solution: make photos you want to look at.

Of course, I don’t want to be too cynical. If you make really great photos, there will be a lot of people who will want to look at your photos. But also remind yourself; there is an equal amount (if not great amount) of people who can care less about your work.

Do you like your own photos?

Kyoto, 2016
Kyoto, 2016

The best way to be a true photographer is to make photos that you like. Before uploading a photo to social media, ask yourself— “If I saw this photo in someone else’s feed— would I want to re-share the image?”

Don’t share images for the sake of sharing images, or from the fear that you will be “forgotten.” I know that in the past, I would upload photos on the daily becauseI was fearful that I would become “irrelevant.”

But remember, great things, and great photography take a lot of time to develop. And if anything, by not uploading your photos as often, others will see your work as more valuable.

Share fewer photos

Also another tip: if you do want to share your photos with another photographer, curator, or editor — share less. I suggest to only share your best 5 photos when sharing your work with others. If your 5 shots are all amazing, wait for them to ask you: “Can you show me more?”

Compare this with sharing 50 photos — which will only tire, bore, and fatigue your viewer.

Shoot for yourself

Kyoto, 2016
Kyoto, 2016

Nobody wants to look at your photos.

But make photos that you want to look at. The only way to be authentic to yourself.


Learn more: Personal Photography >