Restrict Yourself

Last weekend I finally got the time to visit some of my college friends for the chance to catch up and create together. If you follow me on Instagram or YouTube, you know that at the beginning of summer I was struggling to stay creative since all of my friends had moved home. This weekend was just the fix I had been craving—finally getting to see some of my best creative friends and gain a little more motivation back.

I've been following a trend going around lately called the ugly location photoshoot challenge. The basis of this challenge is to scope out a few "ugly" locations that you wouldn't normally take your Insta worthy pictures at, but make do with what you have and create something awesome. 

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a video made by some of my favorite creators on YouTube called Mango Street. Their videos focus around short photography tutorials that don't waste your time. In this specific video, they focused on the topic of taking your photos to the next level while in a creative rut. The main idea was to put limitations on yourself and create anything you can with those barriers. I thought this was an interesting way to restrict yourself with specific limitations where you then have to make it work with what you have. In the video they go on to explain that putting those limitations on yourself actually makes you more creative. You can watch a more in depth explanation here. 

The ugly location photoshoot challenge was a branch off of this idea in the sense that you are given a specific location that you have to work around. I took on this challenge with my friends as we hit 3 ugly locations: McDonald's, the grocery store, and a laundromat. 


First up: McDonald's

We decided to stay outside by the monumental arches to bring out the reds and yellows in our photos. It was also the perfect gloomy day which is my favorite lighting to take photos in!

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Next Up: The Grocery Store

This location was by far the location with the most obstacles. Between bad lighting, grocery shoppers, and finding the perfect colors to incorporate in our pictures, we struggled to get that perfect shot. Regardless of our restrictions, we did manage to have fun and break out of our comfort zones. We obviously had to stop by the "forbidden snacks," aka, the Tide Pods! This one gave us a good laugh BUT we also got to incorporate some fun colors. Goes to show that there are more to your surroundings than you may think.

And Lastly: The Laundromat

I was pretty excited to take on this last location. I have seen this one incorporated into many ugly location photoshoots, and I think that it has a lot of potential. The first thing we noticed here was the bright blue washers and green walls. Throw in a laundry cart, work that camera magic, and a boring laundromat suddenly turns into a colorful photoshoot location. We also used candy that we bought at the grocery store to act as a prop.

Quick tip: using a small prop like candy or coffee can make your photo seem more natural while posing!

Putting these restrictions on myself while creating content was fun to see the kind of ideas that I came up with. The next time you're feeling stuck, restrict yourself and see what comes out of it!

xo, hann claire

Watch the video content here: