The work had been done. Months of practising a new technique to get it perfect. The image was ready and it was time to publish. It was ready to be released to the world.
Then… instead of ‘Likes’ and encouraging comments, he said,
“I don’t want to appear ignorant or anything, but, how is this not just a picture of a bench”
I knew then, that one of us had missed the point. I knew it was me!
My friend, although he is incapable of being tactful (we love him really), was absolutely right. I was so focused on the technique and technical details that I lost sight of what was most important to great content creation.
Let’s Go Back A Little
I had been practising a technique known as the Brenizer method or Bokeh Panoramas. This involves using a telephoto lens, 85mm in my case, with a wide aperture and taking many images across one scene. These are then all stitched back together to give a wider view, but still with a shallow depth of field. Kind of like a medium format image, but from the smaller, cropped sensor of my Sony A6300.
It had taken me months of practice to get it right, and I finally published my first image to a wider audience. It was this image:
I captioned it with something along the lines of
“26 images, all stitched together, to make this fake medium format look”
My expectation was that others would appreciate it the way I did.
This was a mistake!
Now, you could dismiss my friend by saying, “He doesn’t know what to look for”, “he doesn’t know how to take good pictures“, or “Some people just don’t get it”, but in reality, should he have to know? Shouldn’t the image speak for itself? If the effect isn’t there, is it really worth it?
I came to realise that the reason I felt so proud of the image was due to all the effort and problem solving that had gone into it. But ultimately, it WAS just a picture of a bench. This technique added nothing to the final image.
We all search for things like “Best cameras for blogging“, “Tech for Bloggers“, “Whats the best camera for Instagram“, but the truth is
“A GREAT IMAGE IS NOT BUILT ON TECHNIQUE ALONE!”
We all have those snapshots that we are proud of, but are they great images? Probably not. They only mean something to us, because we know the backstory and context. These types of images will not be good enough for us as content creators for brands.
They have to communicate to our target audience on their own, and poor subject choice/concept will not be masked by some clever trickery involving ND filters, light-painting, or any other ‘none standard’ techniques we think are cool.
So, with this being a Content Creation Blog, what does this mean?
How To Take Good Pictures
I feel that a photograph or any piece of content should be based on something. Written content should have a story; photos should convey something in their mood, composition, subject, etc (notice that megapixel/f-stop etc was not mentioned); videos should have a story and should combine all the elements of written content and still images.
The focus on techniques and gimmicks are similar trappings to getting focused on gear and specifications. You should have your techniques down, but they should not be the only merit to your content. Technique – like gear – is a tool to help you achieve something.
How can we know avoid this?
The simple answer is, we need feedback. We need to share it, selectively, with people we know and trust. Either friends or others on the team (if you are lucky enough to have one). I say selectively because we all have people who are negative in our lives. People who just want to take a dump on everything. Probably not the best people to ask for their opinions.
Find those few people that can be honest (however brutal) but supportive and ask them what they think.
I know this is difficult, but in the end, it will make us better creators.
Thanks again, have a great day, watch less, create more,