Blog # 69 On Restrictions

August 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Restrictions in creatively can be a good thing that actually facilitates and improves the creative process. But how? 

First off, if you are a beginner or hobbyist in photography, there is great value in casting your net widely.  In other words, experiment with various formats, film, digital, working with lenses, genres, do a Project 365, work on various projects, portraits, travel, etc… After you master the technical settings of your specific camera(s), the next step is to find your artistic voice.  What do you want to say through your images? 

Eventually, you can work your way up to story writing, and other creative challenges and projects with images.  Thinking of a project can be a bit daunting as there are an infinite number of possibilities out there in the big wide world.

After the initial period of experimentation which will vary from person to person you will likely settle into a small set of cameras, lens, genres, projects, and such.   It’s like sanding wood, you move from course to fine, systematically. 

At this point in your creative career (or hobby for that matter), it might be helpful to establish some self-imposed restrictions.  Interestingly, these can be good in short bursts and actually improve and focus your creative process, image making, and therefor photography.

Some examples of restrictions are as follows:

  • Use only one focal length lens for a one month or up to one year.
  • Shoot film only on vacation.
  • Avoid buying any new gear for a while and stick with what you have.
  • Only shoot in color (or black and white) for a while day or week, or longer
  • Make images only of people.
  • Choose one genre such as macro, landscape, or architectural photography and make only images of those subjects. 
  • Avoid posting anything on social media for a week or month. 
  • Do a project 365.

 

Although is seems like the task of making images within narrow parameters like these will somehow limit your creative process or result in a boring, homogenous group of images,  actually, the opposite happens.  It’s really a paradox effect sort of thing. By setting limits, you will somehow start to take a deep dive into the creative process.  The results will be well worth it. 

The small set of images below were the result of setting the limit (for a day on a family holiday) of only shooting black and white.  

What limits will you set for yourself? 

Remember, the light is always right! 

  • Sunday 13 August Street Photography Workshop in Hong Kong * 
  • Click here for more information * 

See these related Blog posts for more tips and techniques on how to improve your photography:

 

Blog # 61 On Assignment

 

Blog # 46 What Makes Art Worthy?

 

Blog # 42 It’s All in the Details

 

Blog # 6 Projects

 

Blog # 16 Special Edition 2016: Project 365 Complete!

 


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