For many people, including many photographers, photography is about the stuff- the cameras, the flashes, the lenses, the lights, the meters, tripods… you name it and it’s about the stuff. And with the maturing of the digital market we now have even more stuff… laptops, tablets, big storage, little storage, camera phones, software, off-line stuff… on-line stuff… you name it. Stuff.

The new model of the camera or the lens or the software is “awesome” while the model the new one replaced is now junk. With the new model you will make the greatest photos ever and the model that it replaced will inhibit your creativity. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration but not much.

It is easy to get lost in all of the stuff.

Getting lost in the stuff can take your focus off the subject and the story.

Getting lost in the stuff can stifle the communication.

So here is the challenge — pare your entire camera kit down to one the will fit in a shirt pocket or a case that is the size of a shirt pocket. This could be a stand-alone (dedicated) camera or a smartphone camera.

For the dedicated camera this kit would include the camera, the media card and an extra battery or two. And that would be about all you can get in your pocket. If you are using a case, it would be about 5” tall by about 3” wide and about 1-1/2 inches deep.

The dedicated camera for this challenge would obviously be a compact of some type. With this type of camera, you lose all of the accessories – the accessory lenses, the outboard flash units, remote shutter releases, etc. All you have to do is concentrate on the photograph and its relationship to the story you want to tell.

Some photographers may have a difficult time giving up all the control they think they have over the photographic process and that fear is certainly understandable. But the modern compact camera is an exceptional piece of photographic equipment capable of excellent to outstanding image quality.

The other way to do the shirt-pocket challenge is with your phone.