Currently living in Dubai, Sukaina is constantly traveling around the world and creating content. We had the chance to learn more about her process and gain some tips on staying motivated in a competitive creative space.
How and why did you get into content creation?
I think content creation found me rather then me going out to become a content creator. I started photography in 2010 with a blog sharing recipes and then moved to Instagram in 2012. As my following grew, so did my photography skills and soon enough, brands started reaching out asking me to take pictures of cafes or products. Two years ago, I made a conscious effort to include more travel on my feed as I loved to travel and fast forward two years, I worked with brands to create beautiful images of travel and food, my two most favorite things in the world.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Oh everywhere. I'm influenced by fellow travelers and the amazing content they produce. Dubai, where I currently live, provides a huge source of inspiration. Its such an iconic and constantly evolving city and there's always something new to photograph, somewhere new to eat with quirky interiors.
How do you decide what to share and what to keep private?
For me, Instagram is definitely a highlights reel- I want to inspire my followers, uplift that person who may be feeling down, make someone laugh out loud, urge them to come out of their comfort zone and book a trip of a lifetime, wake up and do something new. For this reason, I only want to post beautiful, happy and saturated images. Also for me, my day job as a professional photographer merges into my night job as an avid traveler so my life seems an open book!
What is the best kept secret in Dubai?
No secrets here as it's a new and iconic city literally being built up from the sand. I'd say the vegan scene is just building up now and one of my favorite new places is Vibe UAE.
Any tips and tricks you'd like to share with other creators?
One of my biggest tips is not to look at other creators and ask 'why not me'- instead set yourself a list of goals and tick each off as you go along. Equally, just START. My first picture I ever posted is pretty awful when I look back. Obviously, at the time I didn't think so but had I not posted it, I wouldn't have grown and improved my craft. I would have still been waiting. The goalpost is always moving and you are only constantly competing with yourself to become better and better. You just need to get the ball rolling!
What camera and editing software do you use?
I use a Canon 5D mark ii with a variety of lenses depending on if I'm shooting food or travel. These include the 16-35mm, the 24-70mm as well as the 100mm main for food. All my travel images are edited on Lightroom.
How would you describe your aesthetics?
I feel like my aesthetic keeps changing depending on the aesthetics of the place I'm traveling! However, what remains constant is my love for contrasted images which highlight the beauty of the place more then anything else. Lighting is so important and I love to shoot at sunrise or sunset so you will always notice a warm tone to my images.
Tell us something no one knows about you.
Before photography, I used to work as an optometrist in UK. In case you're not familiar with that, my job was staring into people's eyes to check their health and prescribe glasses.
What's been your favorite piece of work to date?
Oh I haven't created it yet!
The best thing about being a creator?
The flexibility to work my own hours, the ability to travel the world, doing what I love and calling it work. Honestly, there is nothing about being a content creator I don't love. It really the best job in the world. Every day is different and you meet some amazing and inspiring people along the way.
Favorite people to follow on Instagram?
I recently discovered @sorelleamore who I find to be so real and inspiring and witty all rolled into one. I also love @nazyxo who's images from Zanzibar forever remind me of home!
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Be yourself, just start, do what makes you happy rather than what's in fashion or a what jobs are considered well paid.
What word sums up your job title?
Follow Sukaina here.