Photography with limitations

Skill Development

Swiss photographer and musician, Chandra, offers an experiment for lovers of photography. A switch from the subject to the object. From the result to the present moment.

Chandra's photo in limited space

The times of Corona are a challenge on so many levels

Restrictions are a central fact for all of us. How do we deal with them? How do we use our personal situation creatively? Can we also enjoy ourselves and feel good about it?

A creative, playful learning process for this are photographic limitations. Here is my restriction program, which I also modify from time to time:

  • I choose a fixed focal length – (in my examples 50mm)
  • I choose a fixed aperture: (f/3,5)
  • I limit myself to a number of photos in a certain time: (e.g. 8 in one hour)
  • I limit myself to one place: (e.g. a room)
  • I don’t prepare anything or clean anything up

An experiment for everyone

You can also do this exercise as an amateur photographer or with a mobile phone by setting up the rules yourself.

For example:

  • You limit yourself to a number of photos in a certain time: (e.g. 8 in one hour)
  • You confine yourself to a given space

The my most important point is: staying present during the whole exercise!

That means: your attention is not directed to the object you are photographing, but to the subject, to yourself.

To help you do so, choose an “anchor point” that you can come back to each time you lose yourself in thought (and that will happen all the time).

Possible anchor points are:

  • Being aware of your breath
  • Execute every movement consciously, perceive every movement consciously
  • Stop and stay motionless for one minute after a picture has been taken

The personal experiences from this are incredibly rich and open a fresh approach to photography. The process comes to the fore and the goal, the photos, become a by-product of this process.

I have compiled my enclosed “results” from a few such sessions.

For the processing of my photos I have chosen very simple steps:

  • Cropping to 3:4, leaving the height of the picture
  • A simple B/W conversion

Of course you can also leave out the editing completely.

Try it out and share your experience!


Chandra is a musician, choir master, and photographer, presently living in Switzerland.

Comments are closed.