Lori Pickens

lori picklens parkersburg, wv photographer with her favorite photography gear

Using Constraints to Strengthen Your Photography Skills

Today, we’re diving into the fascinating realm of creativity and how to strengthen it using constraints. If you’re like me, coming off a busy season, feeling a bit burnt out, and facing a million tasks on your to-do list, you might find yourself stuck in a creative rut. Well, fear not! I’ve discovered an incredible way to reignite your creativity—by embracing constraints.

The Power of Constraints

I know, it might sound contradictory, but by imposing limits on yourself, you can eliminate overwhelming choices and push your creative boundaries within defined limits. Let’s explore a few ideas for creative constraints that can breathe new life into your photography.

  1. Limit Your Gear:
    • Resist the temptation of always seeking the latest equipment.
    • Challenge yourself by using only one lens for a week or a month.
    • Experiment with lenses you rarely use, like a wide or long lens.
    • Embrace creative lenses like Lensbaby to enhance your skills.
  2. Focus on Faceless Images:
    • Take a break from facial expressions and tell a story through faceless images.
    • Learn to capture emotions and narratives without relying on smiles or happy eyes.
  3. Constrain Your Subject Matter:
    • Commit to a specific subject for a set period, such as self-portraits, flowers, or macro photography.
    • Find joy and growth in mastering a particular aspect of photography.
  4. Change Your Medium:
    • Shift from digital to film photography for a thoughtful and intentional approach.
    • Consider capturing only one photo per day to emphasize quality over quantity.
  5. Limit Your Shooting Locations:
    • Shoot in the same spot every day for a week to discover new perspectives.
    • Experiment with different times of the day, lighting conditions, and compositional techniques in a familiar setting.

Adding Variety Within Constraints:

  • Change perspectives: shoot from above, below, or straight on.
  • Try different lenses for unique effects.
  • Experiment with compositional techniques like shooting through objects or using leading lines.
  • Alter the story or intention within the same space, capturing various aspects of the scene.

To sum it up, creative constraints can set you free from the overwhelming options and limitations that hinder your artistic expression. Whether it’s focusing on a specific subject, using a particular tool, or embracing a single project, stripping away the excess noise can lead to unparalleled creativity. So, grab your camera, choose a constraint that resonates with you, and witness the magic of creative freedom in your photography and your life.

If any of these ideas sparked inspiration in you, I encourage you to give it a try! Capture your moments using these constraints and share your work with me by tagging @LoriPickens on social media. I can’t wait to see the beautiful creations that emerge from your newfound creative constraints. Happy shooting!


Lori Pickens is a Mother, Wife, Tech Geek from Parkersburg, WV, and the podcast host of Photo Goals. She is a true lifelong local and has been photographing in the area for over a decade. She serves families from Parkersburg, WV to Marietta, OH. Lori is also a Click Pro Elite and Click Community Mentor. When she’s not capturing pictures or spending time with her kids, she enjoys organizing her lists and spending time on her family farm.

Featured Categories