Lori Pickens

photography tips using constraints

Photography Tips on Using Constraints

One of the best ways to push your creativity is to introduce constraints. It might sound contradictory, but it’s true! By limiting yourself and your choices you not only remove the overwhelming ideas or ways to get started, but you force yourself to work within the defined limits and push what you already know or habits you rely on.

Photography tips using constraints

One great way to do this is to use one spot or location in 5 different ways!

Here are some ideas and ways you can include variety:

  • Shoot at different times of the day. Notice how the light changes in your one spot or room throughout the day and how you can use it creatively.
  • Change up your perspective or angle. Shoot from above, shoot from below, shoot from straight on.
  • Shoot it with different lenses. Use a wide angle, a long lens, and tilt shift or creative lens.
  • Try to incorporate different composition techniques. Shoot through something to create depth. Use balance. Find leading lines.
  • Change up your story or intention. Shoot the entire scene. Shoot a portrait. Shoot a detail. Shoot a connection.

Here is one example that I did for the challenge using our stairs. I changed up the perspective and also the light to capture lots of different memories and portraits.

In the example above, the first image is front light. I am standing between my subjects and the window behind me. This makes for nice, even, often-flattering light.

In the middle image, my subject is backlit and I’m slightly lower than my subject. (Funny story.. he was sitting in timeout on the steps, and actually fell asleep like that.)

In the image on the right, I’m slightly above my subject, light is to the side and above him.

In the image at the very top, of my son licking the sucker, that is actually created in the exact same spot. A simple portrait, with side light.

You might also be interested in: 3 Tips for Backlit Images

The image below is the same spot early in the morning in harsh light – the opposite wall from the soft light portrait at the top.

This is such a great exercise to try out when you are creatively stuck or if you are doing a P365 project and run out of ideas to shoot. Pick a key spot or room in your house. Think of the stories and moments you can capture in that ONE location – the kitchen table, the front door, etc.

If you give this challenge a try, I’d love to see what you create! Tag me in your post @loripickens or DM me a collage of your images.

Do you love creative challenges like this? Our Indoor Light class has over 15 specific and direct exercises to try as you work through the course materials.

Another great option is the Click Community forum, where they have both on-going and creative monthly challenges to push you and friends to support you.

Your next recommended read: 3 Tips for Creating Successful Motion Blur


I have a few tools in my toolbelt that will help you grow to be the photographer you’ve always wanted to be!  Whether you are prepping to be a ClickPro Elite or just ready to start leveling up and making new goals, check out these resources to help you grow!

The Click Community

Must Have Tools for your Photography Business

What’s in my Bag – Cameras, Lenses, and More

Fearless Indoor Light – a Self-Paced course

Indoor Light Challenge

Film Challenge
(for the challenges, you must be in the Click Community)

Be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest for more tips, tricks, and resources for photographers!

Featured Categories