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How to Get Better at Photography: The Power of Setting Limits to Improve Your Skills

If you’re one of those photographers who agonize over what gear to stuff in your camera bag every time you head out the door, you might to hear this!

Setting limitations has been a key learning tool for as long as people have been pushing themselves to get better as creatives. While sometimes we try to get better at EVERYTHING as artists, teachers and mentors often slow us down and remind us that focusing on one thing can help us grow.

This is also the case for photography. As someone who has been teaching photography for a while, I totally get the difficulty beginners have in learning to get started taking amazing photographs. There’s photography basics such as exposure and manual mode. Then there’s composition. Editing. Lighting. Lightroom. Photoshop. It becomes endless!

So sometimes taking a step back and learning one key thing helps us learn to take one step at A time.

As an example of this, I’m going to invite you to learn one lens at a time, and force yourself to learn the power and limitations of that one lens in different circumstances.

Yes. It COULD mean that you miss a shot you might otherwise have gotten (if I take only a wide-angle out and I see a rare bird in the distance… I’m just going to have to accept that I’m not going to get a shot of that rare bird!).

Embracing the limitations are what we are talking about here, and forcing yourself to find ways to get good photographs regardless of those limitations will teach you how to be better with that single lens and much more.

In the video above I was forcing myself to use a 50mm non-macro lens in situations that I probably would have use a macro lens. I had to learn about my 50mm lens – how close it would focus, how accurate the focus would be at that close distance – how backgrounds render in these situations, etc.,

And in the end, it gave me a lot more respect for using the 50mm and expanded on my understanding on how I can use the lens in the future.

This is an excellent article ( on this concept helps flesh this idea out.

And this article explains the same idea but in another medium:

So – get out there, but leave that camera bag full of gear at home. Take one camera. One lens, and explore the possibilities in ways that will ultimately improve your photography.