Just recently I was surfing the internet, looking for psychology and found some article talking about positive reinforcement. I know it got nothing to do with photography. But for some reason I thought about something that I’m sure you and many photographers experience. And all of it influence the mind and behavior of photographer. Now, this is really interesting for me to look at and I think it can help the way you see your photography from now on. Just like the title said, Over Positive Reinforcement. Is it good?
What is Positive Reinforcement?
Every first year psychology student should know what is positive reinforcement. Simply quote from verywell.com,
Positive reinforcement involves the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future. When a favorable outcome, event, or reward occurs after an action, that particular response or behavior will be strengthened.
Positive reinforcement has been used a lot by not only psychologist, but also by many educator and parent. For example, I’m a parent and I want to increase my child school achievement. To do this I can just simply give a reward (like toy) for everytime he did his test well. Doing that, will increase his study rate and increase his achievement at school.
How about more simple one. By just give a praise to child can be a stimulus to increase behavior. Just say, “your amazing” or “good job”, the kid happy, and he will study more to get more praise.
What it Got To Do with Photography
Whether you realize it or not, on any place that you show your photography (like social media or to a friend) you are most likely will always get a positive reinforcement. Now the easiest example I can think of is Instagram (or any kind social media). This social media platform give the chance as a photographer to show your work to the world. And many others will see it and respond to it in the form of comments and likes.
Those comments and likes become a stimulus that increase your motivation and behavior to taking more photos. I will say it is good and work really well for me to.
But sometime I think to much positive reinforcement sometime make us forgot a simple thing.
Is It Good?
This the interesting question. Is to much positive reinforcement make us blind about the fact of our photography?
Like I said before positive reinforcement is good. But should also see where it come from. The fact is positive comment and like in social media is just to easy to get. For example, I upload a photo to instagram, and got more than a thousand likes and many positive comment, is because I got more than 50k followers and not because to photo is good. It’s the same as you good a positive comment about your photo because you show it only to your family and friend.
Those many positive reinforcement can deceive yourself to thinking, “my photograph is so good, even better than professional.” When the fact, It isn’t.
Those kind of thinking can give a fatal consequence to you and your photography. Like, didn’t want take any photo because there are no better than before, didn’t want to learn more because you already think you’re great, Didn’t want change the way you work when the fact you’re horrible at it, or thinking of selling your bad photos thinking it can be a hard sell.
So how to solve this problem? You can simply look for an actual positive reinforcement that good and reliable.
Find an Actual Photographer’s Positive Reinforcement
A few tips where you can find real positive reinforcement.
The easiest to find great positive reinforcement is from other photographer. It is because they understand and have a share experience with you. To found you can go to many photography forum and show them your photograph. There you can see their respond in the form of critics. Well… its not always good critics but at least they’re honest.
Another way is from social media, like instagram. But instead just upload like before, why don’t some words like “Give me your thought” or “Give me a critics.” This way you can most likely to get more reliable positive reinforcement.
1x is an online curated gallery and one of the favorite by many great photographer. One part that is great critique, where you can give and get photography critics by many professional photographer. Now if you want the truth of your photography, this is one recommended site.