There’s no substitute for content. None. You can have the most technically perfect, accurately exposed frame, with the best sensor in the best camera and the fastest lens on the market, and give me a 10-year-old point and shoot with a subject worth photographing, and I’ll blow you out of the water every time.
Because I’m a pro, and I can’t get anything with that ultimate set up without content. Content is king. No one cares about a bit of grain if they’re smiling, laughing or even crying. The content does that, not the pixel count.
Which goes to explain why so many people are satisfied with the poor images they get out of their phones. Because they don’t see that quality, they see Uncle Joe trying to stand on his head. Or Stephanie sitting in her new car. The rest is just details. They’re enamored with the content.
But that content may not work for someone outside of their family. Show me that handstand and I might be rightly bored. Because I don’t know him, it’s poorly shot and I wasn’t there. I don’t have the same experience with the moment as you do.
Same reason why Garry Winogrand said he wouldn’t look at his images for a year after he made them. He wanted time to get rid of the nostalgic feelings of capturing something, and to look for content in the frame. Because content is king.
Robert Capa famously said, if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. To which I add, keep moving in and close in on a worthy subject. Fill the frame with content worth sharing. (Or don’t share, that’s fine, too.)
If you want to shoot street, if I never see another person on the corner looking at their phone, it will be too soon. That person needs more of a story than just standing there. If they have a long cord going up to his apartment window nine stories high, shoot that! That’s content!
Seek the story. Find the image. It’s out there. Go get it.