I was invited to participate in a 30-day photo challenge wherein the participants were asked to photograph and upload one photo a day based on a word prompt.
In the past, I’ve done similar projects and it’s a great idea for the rare times I have “nothing” to photograph.
I made the project more challenging for myself by shooting everything in manual mode, I used .jpeg format instead of RAW, I limited myself to one camera and one lens and absolutely no post-processing or cropping; basically a straight out of camera image with all its flaws.
This is not a big deal for some, but most photographers use a DSLR or a mirrorless camera because we don’t like limitations when it comes to our photography. We know the benefits of using a variety of lenses and focal lengths, so when faced with using one camera and lens, it can be frustrating.
As mentioned, it was a self-imposed rule because I like being frustrated. It also forced me to be more creative.
I was forced to get the photo right in-camera rather than in post-processing; I was forced to find subjects that complemented the lens I was using; I was forced to move and shoot around my subject for better composition, and I was forced to use accessories that allowed me to focus on my subject.
I also learned a few things. I learned to use features on my camera I never would have used before; I learned to take my time and not “spray and pray” my camera at subjects; I learned that full manual mode is not complicated, but liberating once it became a habit.
I enjoyed the challenge, but when the project was over it felt great to use my other cameras and lenses. I like variety, but once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with limitations.
My main “problem” was turning the camera on and it not being “ready” to take a photo, but overall it was a learning experience even if at times I was frustrated. I would do it again, but probably not for an entire month.
So if you find yourself out of photo ideas, try a photo challenge, whether it be to photograph a single color a day, a 30-day challenge, a 52-week challenge or even a 365-day challenge to jump start your creativity. No doubt you’ll discover by limiting your options you’ll increase your possibilities.
Stay tuned. Next month I will post 15 word prompts for you to photograph and upload here, to my Facebook page or my Flickr group. Happy shooting.
All images were shot with an Olympus EM-5 and an Olympus 45mm lens.