zoom lens

Why you should learn photography with prime lenses.


One reoccurring thing I see is people getting into photography by buying a dslr and a twin lens kit. You might end up with something like a 18-55mm and a 55-250mm (I should know, I did the exact same thing). The problem I find with these lenses is that they are fine right up until a certain point. That point is when you are saying to yourself "I have the good camera, but why dont my shots look like the pros?".

Learning photography on zoom lenses is definitely not the ideal - In my eyes they promote a lazy approach to creating images. If you do hit that point where you feel like your photography is going nowhere with your kit lenses go and buy yourself a fast prime lens - such as the ultra cheap Canon 50mm 1.8. With a prime lens you have no zoom ability, instead you will be forced to zoom by walking closer or further away from your subject. This might seem like a bad thing compared with the ease of a zoom but trust me - it will improve your photography immensely. There is such a danger with zoom lenses to just stand in one spot and just zoom in and out to get your different frames. With prime lenses you will always be moving around - and because you are moving around you will spot other different and interesting compositions that you would have missed had you just been standing in one spot. 

Another great thing about prime lenses is that once you have used a certain focal length enough you can frame up a shot without even having to raise the camera to your eye. I have used the 50mm focal length so much that I know pretty dang well what will be in my shot and can already start to move if I know I'm going to be too close or too far away from my subject.

What this all adds up to is the camera and lens combo begins to feel second nature. Working with prime lenses encourages a way of thinking about photographs that is much more intuitive. Primes make you work to get the shot and having to work for it is exactly how you get better. There is no shortcut or magic camera combo that will make you a world class photographer. I know people with kits worth at least 7k who still haven't got their head around what makes a good shot. It's all practice and hard work.