Have you ever met a photographer who thinks their work is incredible, but you don’t agree? Perhaps they’re actually really bad? In this 9-minute video, Scott Choucino explains how and why this happens, and how you can avoid it.
The phenomenon where someone believes they are great at something at which they are, as Choucino says, “rubbish” is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect is defined as “a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability.”
In the case of a photographer, when one is suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect and is confronted with the facts of their ability, there are two ways to react. One, they can accept the truth of what they are hearing and actively work to improve. In Choucino’s case, when he was starting out he was told by a food photographer that while his food photos were technically exposed correctly, they were bad food photos; the food did not look good. He luckily heard these words from a respected photographer, internalized them, and got better.
But there are many who will go with the second way to react: denial. If you let this happen, you’ll never actually improve.
“If you think you’re good, and you think you know everything, you’ve lost the game already,” Choucino says.