Every once in a while, it’s good to introduce artificial constraints to jump-start the creative process. One of those exercises is the old school photo challenge, which I heard of first from Scott Kelby. The deal is, that you are pretending that you are shooting old school like in the days of film, i.e. the following five rules apply:
- You turn off your display, so no chimping after each photo … or anytime during the photo shoot.
- You are only allowed to shoot 24 or 36 pictures, as if you had a role of film.
- You cannot look at the pictures on a computer before you have seen them in print.
- You take them to your photo printer of your choice and let them develop. This is quite difficult, since typically you have to look at the pictures to select the ones that you’d like to develop. But with a little squinting and maybe the help of a shop assistant, you’ll get there.
- Since film was costly in the old days, you are spending the money, that you would have paid for film, for a good cause, i.e. make a donation to the red cross or any other charity of your choice.
On a sunny saturday in April the fabulous Anna, who visited us in Munich, and I took the challenge and went out to shoot. The most difficult part is always counting how many pictures you’ve already taken, but that’s part of the fun.
I really like about the challenge, that you take photos far more conscious. Every picture counts, so you think more ahead, spend a lot more time looking through the viewfinder to get the composition right and think a lot more about the correct exposure settings. Compared to a normal photowalk, the whole process changes from taking snapshots and keeping the best one to trying to get the best ones directly in camera and have as little as possible to delete later. I highly recommend to take on that challenge and see what it does to your picture-taking process. As always, best results are achieved when being joined by a friend. Oh, and please don’t forget about the fifth rule of ‘old school photo challenge’. We made out donation to the Springs of Hope Foundation in Kenya.
Since we ran out of time, we had to abort our mission after 20 pictures. Nevertheless, we brought the pictures to the camera shop, got them developed and had a look at them over dinner. Below are my 20 takes, straight out of camera. Not all are winners, but the keepers-ratio is above my usual average. Maybe we can get Anna to show us hers as well.