Using limitations to learn in photography

Using limitations to learn in photography

A while ago, I wrote an article about limiting yourself in order to learn. It’s always good to revisit this concept as many of us still aren’t traveling yet to take photos.

What can you photograph in your house?

First of all, there is yourself or others in your household (if they’re cooperative). Have you always wanted to learn or practice portrait photography? Now is a good time to do that. You are the best model to experiment with. Doing this also helps you understand what your models and clients go through on the other side of the camera. Here are a few ideas for using self-portraits to learn.

What else is in your home? How about exploring the possibilities of macro photography? Getting up close and personal with items can make them much more intriguing and interesting. I have a friend who has been doing a “What is it?” series using items in his home. It’s pretty amazing how art can be created using just about anything.

multiple exposure window blinds
Multiple exposure image of window blinds

Personally, in the last few weeks, I participated in a mentorship program to learn about blurs and multiple exposures. I never left my house or yard to create the images I needed for the lessons each week. Oh wait — I lied — one day I did go to a local park to grab a few shots. Some of those images will soon be hanging in a brand new art gallery in Chicago.

baby squirrels
Baby squirrels in my backyard

What can you photograph in your yard?

Or your balcony or out your window if you don’t have a yard? Gardens, grass, flowers, the sun, trees, fences, sidewalks, bugs, birds … as you can see the possibilities are out there. Here again, grab that macro lens, extension tubes or reverse rings to get a different perspective of what you usually see in your yard, Need to photograph from your balcony, grab a telephoto lens and focus on architectural details around where you live.

pixelated flower limitations
Created using Topaz Labs

What new post-processing technique can you learn?

Plenty of editing programs out there offer trial versions. If there is one you’ve always wanted to try, sign-up and only use that software for the duration of the trial period. Is there a technique you’ve seen others use that made you think you wish you could do that? Spend some time with that technique and no other editing processes, focus only on that until you have created an image you’re happy with.

Macro phone pancakes limitations
Macro image of pancakes taken with my phone

What are the photography capabilities of your mobile phone?

Having recently gotten a new phone myself, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting and photographing with it to see what it does, and how it handles low-light, macro and other situations. I have not even scratched the surface of learning what it is capable of.

Limit yourself to only using your phone camera for a defined time period so that you can learn all that it has to offer. This can be extended to mobile editing options as well.

gourmet cupcakes limitations

Endless options can be overwhelming, limitations can help

With all of the options out there, cameras, lenses, phones, platforms, software, apps and on and on, it can be overwhelming. Sometimes it can stop us from actually learning or creating because it’s too much to have to think about. So I say don’t. Just pick one thing and focus on that for a while. See what you learn by using limitations.

Leave a Reply