A Most Unscientific Personality Study of Photographers

What draws us to be photographers? I’m photographer Kirk Mastin, the founder of Mastin Labs, and this is the question we set out to answer when we surveyed our Mastin Labs Facebook community for their 16 personalities results in partnership with our friends at Brevitē Backpacks. We utilized the 16Personalities website to conduct this very unscientific study.

The 16 personalities test has its roots in two different philosophies, Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The 16 personalities test has 5 letters but for this we just took the letters before the dash to keep it more concise as the 5th letter is more about how much a person leans in a specific direction, for example, ambiversion which means that someone falls in the middle of the Introversion-Extraversion scale, being neither too outgoing nor too withdrawn. Join the Facebook group to see more specific results. Like the title says, this is not scientific and just for fun.

What Do The Letters Stand For?

The letter combinations stand for the 4 dichotomies within what they believe makes up our personalities. I’m going to paraphrase the definitions below (via Wikipedia).

Attitudes: Introversion/Extraversion

An extrovert’s flow is directed outward toward people and objects, whereas the introvert’s is directed inward toward concepts and ideas.



Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted.
People who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is concrete. Those who prefer intuition tend to be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in the underlying theory and principles which are manifested in the data.


Thinking and feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. Those who prefer thinking, tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint. Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it ‘from the inside’ and weighing the situation to achieve the greatest harmony.

Lifestyle Preferences: Perception/Judging

People also have a preference for using either the judging function (thinking or feeling) or their perceiving function (sensing or intuition) when relating to the outside world (extraversion).

Our Community’s Personality Test Results

Photographers’ least common type: ESTP

ESTP personality types always have an impact on their immediate surroundings — the best way to spot them at a party is to look for the whirling eddy of people flitting about them as they move from group to group. Laughing and entertaining with a blunt and earthy humor, ESTP personalities love to be the center of attention. If an audience member is asked to come on stage, ESTPs volunteer — or volunteer a shy friend. — 16Personalities.com

Less than 1% of photographers surveyed were ESTP.

This was not too surprising if you think about it.

As photographers, we really can’t photograph the center of attention while being the center of attention.

I started my photography journey in the pursuit of understanding the human condition through observation. I wanted to understand life and people through watching what people do and the stories they act out. Whether it be for a newspaper story, or through a wedding.

I imagine the Mastin Labs community is the same way. We are curious observers of our world and therefore cannot be the social attention seekers represented by ESTP.

Photographers’ most common type: INFJ

The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats, they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait — INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact. —16Personalities.com

23% of photographers surveyed were INFJ

If you go to the 16personalities website, you’ll see a subsection called ‘Diplomats.’ We found that within this subcategory, more than half of our community is represented here: INFJ 23%, INFP 19%, ENFP 15%, and ENFJ 10%.

What makes one a diplomat? Diplomats are people that wish to work together and bring together those around them for a good cause. This really feels perfect for those in the Mastin Labs community and perhaps photographers in general.

Photographers care about the subjects they photograph and often have an uplifting message or positive viewpoint associated with their work.

In photojournalism, it’s about making the world a better place by helping the public understand and take action on important issues. With wedding and family photographers, it’s about lifting up the idea of love and family. With fashion photographers, it’s about broadening the mind of the viewer by showing different interpretations of beauty.

So, what about YOUR results?

It’s really eye-opening to take this test! I found out that I am the super rare arch-villain-architect-planner INTJ.

Do you feel the above results feel right for you or the photographers you know? Let me know about YOUR results and how you feel about the results we found above in the comment section below!

P.S. You Can find more of our personality studies in our online magazine, Photoism.

About the author: Kirk Mastin is a photographer and the founder of Mastin Labs (which offers Lightroom presets) and Filmborn. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Mastin has shot for The New York Times, LA Times, and National Geographic Adventure. You can find of his work on his website. This article was also published here.

Image credits: Stock photo licensed from Depositphotos