We get caught up in the big picture, the gear, the “rules,” the latest and greatest apps, plug-ins and software and it can all be quite overwhelming. How do you possibly learn all this stuff? How does this particular thing help me be a better photographer?

Set limits

One way to become a better photographer is to limit yourself. There are many ways to do this.

Choose one area

This can be your home, your backyard, a local park. The thing is to go there and look around. What do you notice, anything you’ve never noticed before? Slow down, breathe, take in the scenery, the sights, sounds and smells. All of this becomes part of the images you create. Think about how a child would see the same location — from their point of view, from their innocence, from their play, from their wonder and imagination.

Choose one lens

Pick one lens. I know, I know for some of you this is very difficult. Use your 50mm, your 100mm macro (don’t even shoot macro with it) or pick one focal length and stick to it with your telephoto lens. Be creative. Shoot everything at 84mm. Why not? Why? It will force you to choose compositions and subjects in a different way than if you have a wider or more zoomed point. Want to force the issue further? Leave your camera bag at home. Only carry your body and that lens. Seriously, the panic attack will subside.

These images were shot with my Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Choose one subject

It can be anything. A flower, car, fence, barn, grass, sculpture, tree — anything and everything is a potential subject. Spend time with it, walk around, change your level of sight. Lay on the ground, stand above it, shoot it straight on. Get under it. All of this forces you to look at your subject differently. Shoot it wide, shoot it close, shoot the entire thing, shoot sections of it. There are so many options, open your mind, use your imagination. The sky’s the limit. (Shoot the sky!)

Choose one spot

Now stop! Don’t move. Really. Take all of your images in a set amount of time from exactly where you planted your feet. You can twist and turn your body, you can look up or down, you can crouch or stand on tiptoes but you cannot move your feet. What can you see in this limited space? Get creative.

By limiting our options we force our minds to create, we force our imagination to work, to think of new ways, new ideas, new options to get an image we want or even to create an image we have never even thought of before. Next time you’re out, try one or all of these. Share your work with Photofocus and tag me. There are Photofocus groups on Facebook and Flickr, plus you can share your images to Instagram and mention @photofocus. We love to see what our readers are creating and love to see our articles in action!