Do we need creative constraints?

With everything else we have to contend with, do we really need creative constraints as well?

Leading on from my losing your creative mojo post, I thought it would be good to have a look at whether we should impose creative constraints on ourselves.

Why do we want to make things harder, isn’t life hard enough already? Well, yes you could say that. But what if we changed the wording slightly. How about a creative challenge? There, that sounds better doesn’t?

Ok – that does sound better

Great! Now let’s think about how we could creatively challenge ourselves in photography. The obvious one is through which gear we use. Or don’t use:

Try shooting with one lens. Pick a lens from your collection and try shooting with only that for say a month. Could be a wide angle, macro, standard, telephoto or perhaps something more exotic. The wide angle and standard lenses are probably the easiest to shoot with. The macro depends on the length. That could be anywhere between 40 and 200mm. The telephoto could prove interesting. Ever tried telephoto landscapes? Instead of trying to fit everything in, a telephoto can be useful for isolating landscape features such as a small group of trees, windmill, castle or other buildings. It also changes your perspective.

While we are on gear how about shooting with a body you don’t normally use. This could be a larger or smaller format than your use too. Or maybe film?

Once you decide on the gear, think about the subject. Ever shot just one genre for a week or a month? Something out of the comfort zone? If you do landscapes have you tried shooting street instead? Or the other way around? I don’t do portraits, so that’s something I could consider.

How about combining a gear and genre challenge together?

Or shoot subjects based on colour. I’d probably go for blue. My favourite youngest would go for red. The wife likes purple. Golds in autumn or even the rest of the year.

As an extension of your photography and to showcase your work you could challenge yourself to setting up your own website. If you haven’t done a website before there are plenty of resources available. There are also ways of doing it for next to nothing. Think of it as your very own digital gallery, open to anyone with internet access. Admit it, you always wanted your own gallery didn’t you 🙂

Well that’s food for thought

Think of the process of photography as you would a subject. More along the lines of not what can be added but what can be taken away.

A challenge could lead to the beginning of a project. This could be short or long term. I have an ongoing project with my 12 Pics series. How long will that last? Honestly I don’t know. I might keep it going or move on to something else.

But that is where you decide what you want to do. Don’t feel like an additional challenge or having creative constraints? No problem.

We may not need a challenge currently in our photographic lives. Sometimes though, as in our daily lives we could end up going in a direction we never thought of before.

Highlands, Scotland
Sometimes a new direction can be a good thing.

If our photography  becomes a chore maybe we are doing something wrong, in which case taking a new path could be an adventure…