Quality over quantity?

Recently, I have read on someone’s Instagram post that they don’t like the “cheap route of posting daily the same iPhone photos of the shark suit minifigs or minimalist shots of Stormtroopers.” They prefer to “focus attention on creating well-crafted models and shooting artistically – styled vignettes.” Basically they were calling for quality over quantity.

I thought about my first Lego photos. How it all started. The overall quality of the photos and the captions.

One of the first LEGO photos (first versions of me and my Dad’s sigfigs). Since then, I’ve taken more than 8,000 photos.

And I realized that’s exactly how I started. With a “cheap route of posting daily”. While I was posting daily I did try to shoot a different mini figure each time.

People say quality is more important than quantity. It’s true – up to a certain point.

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” – Steve Jobs

My dad used to tell me a story. Once upon a time, there was a man who wanted a painting of a rooster. He searched high and low, asked around who would do it in the best way. Finally, he was told that there was this old man, he was the best painter in the country. He went to him, and told him what he wanted. The old man nodded, and told him to come back in a month. He went back there after a month. The old man didn’t recognize him at first, asked him what he wanted. When he said he wanted a rooster painting, the old man said “Oh, right”. He took a piece of paper, his inkwell, and painted the perfect painting of a rooster. The man was in shock. He said “If you were able to do this in five seconds, why did you make me wait a month?” The old man got up, told the man to follow him, and they went into a room. In the room, there were thousands of rooster paintings, all scattered over the floor. The old man said: “A month plus five seconds.”

This story stuck with me. I think the same is true about everything, most of all photography. I’m not a professional photographer, but when I look at my first photographs and compare them with my recent ones, I see clearly how much I have improved. True, some of them are not at all artistic, or even of good quality.

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson

It’s raining men. I have been introduced to the Trooper.

But when I think about it, not all of them have to be. The important thing is that I enjoy taking them. That’s one of the main reasons for everything that I do. I do it because it makes me happy. You don’t like it? That’s fine. You don’t have to. But that simple shot made me happy today, maybe because of the mini figure I used, maybe because of the accessory, or maybe because it reminded me of a happy memory.

Fruitful Harvest

The thing is, there’s the same chance of someone not liking my photograph if I use a fancy camera or a phone, if I create a quick snapshot or if I create something artistic. I can’t control their reaction. What matters to me is taking the shot, thinking about the story, the characters, the background… and trying, just trying to recreate what I have visualized in my mind.

Sunny one so true, I love you.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though it may be frustrating for a Picasso to look at a child’s doodles, it’s because of those doodles the child has a chance to become the next Picasso.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”       ― Pablo Picasso

~ Pinar

The latest photo of me and my dad.

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Flowers for everyone!

21 thoughts on “Quality over quantity?”

  1. This is something I often wonder about, as I tend to post most days. As I actually post in real time, the shot is taken there and then and edited with my iPhone, so I actually look at my feed and can recall where I was and how I felt at the time. Looking back I do see a handful of standout pics (to me) that I love and others not so much, but the same can be said for most of what we create in our lives. For me, Lego photography is my creative outlet and I just go with what feels right at the time.

    1. That’s exactly how I feel! Some pictures we love more and others, meh, but they’re still our creations. Whether good or bad, they remind us of something. It’s good to know you feel the same way 🙂

  2. I’m not sure, that Quality or quantity is the question?!

    I would say the question is about why you post, or why you do photography – the quality or the quantity is just a reflection of the resons for your work or your reason to do photography to start with. I think the answer if you will end up in one or the other coner (quantity/quality) depends on the resons to why you do photography… Quantity or quality is just a result of the resons you have behind doing photography.

    Kristina

    1. True, it is just a result. Still, I think it’s important to improve the quality by increasing the quantity. Most of the time we do it even without knowing it. If you’re an amateur at photography, the quantity will probably outweigh the quality. As you get better, the opposite will happen. Meanwhile, the overall reason may just stay the same: Because you love taking pictures of toys.

  3. Love the Picasso quote, it brought a smile to my face because that is precisely why I enjoy photography… to shake off the dust of everyday life! 😉

    I am in competition with no one but myself, I share a photo because I want to share a smile or a happy thought (most times). Great post Pinar, do what makes you happy!

    1. Thank you Margaret. As for competing… I often find myself trying to take better pictures, comparing my work to of those I admire. Other times, I just do it for the fun of it. Sharing a smile is the best reason to do anything, really 🙂

  4. In my opinion, your (awesome) story tells me that if you want quality, you should pass through quantity, and i totally agree.
    That’s the same reason why trainings exists.
    The difference is that the old man didn’t showed his rooster sketches to everybody…
    So maybe the real question is: “do you prefer to show anybody your (raw) work or just the final result?”

    1. Well, if showing your raw work means others can learn from it, why not? I love “behind the scenes” shots of the great shots I see around on IG. There are so many of them, and sometimes a sneak peak may be what you need to up your game 🙂

  5. Great post! I think we all come at things like this from different places – for some it seems to be all about the f-stop, the exposure, the “perfect” picture … for me it’s about sharing the concept ir story through the medium of toyphotography. Sure I’ll try and get the best shot I can – but if I have a day when ideas spill like a waterfall then I’ll share…
    But thanks for making me think about what I do!

    1. Glad you liked it. With everyone having a smart phone or a tablet, everyone can become a “photographer”. I think it’s important to encourage those who don’t always get the “perfect” shot. And what’s wrong about sharing our love of toys & photography? I gotta admit, sometimes I wish there were more flood posts around 🙂

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post Pinar. The part I can relate to the most is when you said that taking photos makes you happy. That’s the most important thing! Sometimes I get so caught up on trying to get the best photo that I don’t enjoy it anymore. I have to remind myself that I’m doing this for fun and the photos don’t have to be perfect. Like you said, the important part is creating a photo showing our stories and characters. I always enjoy your photos and the stories they tell. Great post!

    Lynn

    1. Thank you Lynn! I know that feeling. It usually happens to me when I try to take a picture for a contest or a challenge. I try so hard, physically and mentally, that after a while it just hurts. I need a mental note to remind myself to take a break when that happens 🙂

  7. Excellent post and a good question. I personally take photos because, well, basically, I have to. There’s a force in me that drives me back to the camera nearly every day. I take lots of photos at each session, usually of the same subject, just different angles, then pick out the one I like best and that I feel tells the story best. That is always a priority with me. Each photo must tell a story. Some days I come up with four or five different “quality” shots, some days one. Some shots I do over and over until finally I get the one that speaks to me. Then I post. My pride, for better or worse, dictates that I post only the “quality” shots and my addiction makes me shoot in vast quantities, but basically I shoot and post to please myself. If people like what I post then that’s always a bonus.

    1. So, you’re one of “those” guys… Just kidding 🙂 If I’m to be honest, I haven’t felt that drive for a while now. I usually force myslef to take pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures, it’s just… sometimes I don’t feel like doing anything. Taking pictures put a smile on my face, whether the quality is good or bad. Looking through them, I think I can read exactly how I was feeling that day. But no matter what, I’ll continue to do it regardless of the quality. After all, we all got a story to tell, right? 🙂

  8. Awesome post, and I agree. I have found that over time my quantity has dropped a lot because the day job gets in the way, but I find that when I get to shoot my Lego photos I feel happier with life, it is a great creative outlet.

    My first Lego photos on IG were crappy as can be, usually taken on my desk at work when the figs arrived in the post.

    These days they are most often taken in a homemade light box with a flash and my DSLR. They are still pretty minimal, but that’s my thing.

    I’m like you, in that I take my photos for me more than for public adoration. I can’t even tell you how many IG followers I have, the numbers don’t drive me. I do enjoy having a community of toy photographers though, it’s great to hear the stories of others, like yourself.

    I love how your dad’s sigfig has changed over time. His recent one looks great, I love the hair.

    1. Ah, I remember the days I gave a brick party every time I hit certain number of followers. 100, 200, 300… It seemed pretty unreal at the time. Even though I enjoy being the person with the most followers among my real world friends, now it’s just a number.

      During these past three years, I learned there’s a whole new world out there, which included custom prints, custom moulds and fake Legos. I may or may not become obsessed about having a unique sigfig for myself and my dad 🙄

  9. Thank you for your wonderful post, my dear friend! I enjoyed it very much and one phrase became the key-note of the story for me: “…because it reminded me of a happy memory”.(c) Two aspects: “quality” and “quantity”. Well here is the third one! The feelings that the author put in the work! You can post many “simple shots” but they will be the Treasure of memories for you and now it’s not important how many details and ideas you used in the pic. Haha everything is very relative. 🙂
    I love your positive gallery! 💛
    Enjoy your day!
    Kind Regards,
    Ann.

  10. Its true – practice makes perfect.

    However its also true one doesn’t have to post every single practice piece 🙂

    I tend to go for the middle ground, and try to shoot the best shot I am taking, be it a complex scene, or just a basic single minifig shot.

  11. Wonderful, thought provoking post. I care a lot about quality, but then I like posting daily as well – so while some images are ones I’m very proud of, others fall somewhere below that.

    An image I feel that I got such an overwhelmingly positive response to on instagram is one I shot with my point and shoot camera, holing the figure in my hand and sitting on the couch. Most the time I shoot in a much more focused way, but it just goes to show you that results and the way others react can surprise you.

    We all start somewhere, and as you’ve said the more we shoot, the better we get. Whether we share those shots along the way is of course a personal decision, but it can be so interesting to watch artists grow.

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