A lot of photographers, be it street, landscape or portrait photographers has already figured out what a great content is. But there is for sure a huge number of shooters out there that are still lost and yet to build a solid content on their portfolio. Yep, that includes me.
I’ve always believed that there are keys to having a quality content, we just have to figure out what and which works. But I guess we can all agree that whatever style or subject you photograph is as long as you have the right consistent content, you’re on the right path.
So what is a quality content anyway? Let’s break it down, shall we?
1. a distinguishing attribute ~ Based on Merriam-Webster
2. high grade; superiority; excellence ~ Based on Dictionary.com
1. Everything that is contained within something ~ Based on Cambridge Dictionary
2. Substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation ~ Based on Dictionary.com
Based on my understanding, a Quality Content is the level of excellence of which the product, information, or material you are producing or putting out.
Strive for High Standard
Once we figured it out what we think is a good quality, it’s basically continuing to work within that boundary. Now, in order to improve that standard you are building, you have to push that boundary. We cannot stay stagnant and never improve. What you consider good now may not be the same case tomorrow. We all change, so as your standard.
The key is you have to be committed to pushing yourself to improve your own standards. You cannot let yourself reach the plateau.
Quick tip! If you are looking to improve your level of standards, get your photos critiqued by people and experts. Never conclude how good your photos are by how many “likes” you get. Although it’s helpful as it boosts your confidence, It can also mislead you.
Photographing a similar theme or a concept is also important for you to create good content. You have to figure out your niche and stick to that. The moment you veer away, you derail consistency.
Personally, I think a consistent content is where the photograph almost seems the same. Every picture has similar contents, similar feeling. It has the feeling of unity and relativity between the photographs and how they are arranged.
Honestly, this is the hardest thing I’m facing now as a street photographer. I’m still developing my style which creates this inconsistency in my portfolio. There are things I have to figure out in my style but I know that once I get it, the ball’s gonna keep rolling with regards to being consistent.
One way to see consistency is looking at the photographers work as a whole. Seeing each photos side by side and being able to see a set of images as one. Here are a few of what I think are the best platforms for us to see how consistent the photographer's works is are Instagram and Flickr.
Here’s one example of what a good consistent content is. It’s a screenshot of my buddy @mattadoro’s Instagram. By looking at it, you can already tell how consistent the images are. Subjects are all isolated which makes it easy to be identified, images are all black and white, somehow each photo shares the same mood with each photograph.
Develop and focus your style
Style is also a determining factor in creating a quality content but it’s probably one of the hardest to achieve. When we are new to photography, we usually are all over the place. Some photos we make could look far different from the set of photos we took the last time. Now in order to develop your style, you have to figure out what you want to photograph, how you want to photograph and how you want people to see your work through your post processing. Time, practice and volume are important in developing a style. It’s going to take time for your style to mature so you have to be patient as well.
Having a unique content can set you apart from everyone else. It separates you from the commons where the over saturated photos of clichés and cute cat that the masses love vs the great content creators pushing boundaries and displaying a quality image.
The secret to being unique, at least based on how I see it, is creating photographs the way you personally see it rather than taking what everybody else is taking. You have to go against the flow rather than go with it. And if you just happen to be doing what everybody is doing, that’s alright. But you have to up your game and make yourself stand out against all of them.
Here are a few street photographers that I think are producing unique quality content
1. Dirty Harry
2. Barry Talis
Forget everything I said and just enjoy shooting
With everything I’ve said, consider scrubbing it off. If you’re pushing yourself to create consistency and quality filled content but it’s exhausting you to the point you feel like you are working rather than enjoying then I ask you to stop. If you came to a point that you push yourself too much and even though you are doing progress, you are also not having fun- Stop.
There’s no point creating great content if you aren’t getting any joy from it. To quote from one of the considered best comedians of the modern era Groucho Marx- “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong”
Content is important. More important than buying expensive cameras with all the bells and whistles. If your goal is to create great creative contents, you have to focus on doing it. You have to commit and immerse yourself. But if things seem like it’s not working out, step back. In fact, take two or three more steps backward so you see a better picture of what you are doing. Take a break, relax, and start fresh. Know that this is not an overnight thing. It’s a process.
Now let’s go shoot!