Benefits of using a single lens for professional photography
Basic Photography Digital Photography
May 28, 2018

Photography is a very powerful medium through which we can easily reach out to the world. It requires a lot of practise to gain perfection. Hence this requires a lot of pre visualisation too. This includes the homework you do the day before a particular shoot. The images you think of at that time and how to fight all sort of challenges in the field to get those successfully, goes a long way in determining your success. 
One of the most significant advantages of using a dslr camera is the fact that you can change lenses. Hence all you need at the end of the day is a single camera body. However, there is a trend amongst many photographers to use just a single lens for professional photography. It may sound quite surprising to be very honest. Let’s take a look at this trend and try to analyse it.



1. The simplicity factor
It is always easier to get accustomed to a particular focal length. Studying a lens completely requires a lot of time, ranging from a few months to even a year. Hence more the number of lenses you carry, the more time required to master them. This is one of the primary reasons as to why some photographers prefer using a single lens for their shoots. For example, I always carry my 50 mm prime lens with me, at all my shoots. A prime lens never lets you down in terms of the quality of images. Since it is a fixed focal length lens, you cannot zoom in or out. You have to move yourself in order to get the composition you are looking for. This may seem like a pain. And it is, initially. But once you get used to that, you start enjoying the simplicity of the process. That doesn’t mean exploring different lenses is not enjoyable. It definitely is. But this is just a different perspective.

2. Fighting the challenges.
If I am shooting with a single prime lens, I don’t have the option of zooming in or out. Moving continuously can be a challenge. But this is something which gets the creativity flowing too. How do you actually find a way to get your desired composition with that lens itself? How do you play around with the depth of field while operating with a single lens? These questions add up to the list of interesting challenges that one should be up for. When you are operating with a single prime lens, you also understand the nature of the lens quite well. The concept of depth of field also seems to be simpler and under control.

3. The familiarity factor
When you are operating with a single lens, you get very much familiar with the behaviour of the lens. You have a perfect understanding of what to expect from the lens. It gets easier to actually pre visualize the shots since you are already accustomed to the frame and settings. It also gets easier to set up a particular shot once you are so much familiar with the gear. Since you are always working with the same lens, your images will have a lot of consistency in terms of quality. This may be an asset for your photography business. Some photographers have often struggled with the consistency of delivery and once you overcome this, it is a very pleasant land to be in.

4. Save time and money

Photography gear is quite expensive. Buying multiple lenses can cost you several thousand dollars. Operating with a single prime lens will make sure you don’t break your bank at the start of your professional career. The 50 mm prime lens I use is quite cheap comparatively and delivers quality as well. On top of this, you can save your shoulders too, if you carry a single lens around. Lenses, especially the telephoto lenses are quite bulky and heavy. Carrying around several lenses can be a pain most of the times. By this single lens habit, you can save yourself from carrying a lot of extra weight around. Remember you already need to carry the camera body and all the various other accessories, from the external flash, the extra batteries to the tripod. 



5. Clutter free mind

When you are starting your professional career, several lenses and bodies can clutter your mind a lot. Operating with a single lens can omit that clutter. You already know the limitations and the advantages of the lens you are using. As a result, instead of the gear acquisition syndrome, you can focus on the pre visualisation of your images which will certainly lead to better results.

The other side of the story:

Now that we have already discussed the several advantages of shooting with a single lens, this blog will be incomplete if I don’t share the troubles I have faced while practising this. The first and foremost difficulty I have often faced is the lack of the zooming option. Moving continuously in order to get the composition right can be a huge pain at times, especially in crowded events. You can reduce that considerably if the single lens you are using is a zoom lens, for example an 18-135mm lens or the 24-120mm lens. This can reduce your movement significantly. Whether these lenses will deliver the quality that the prime lens does, is of course a different story altogether.

I have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the single lens concept in detail. To be very honest, I don’t use this concept at all times professionally. But I will be lying if I say I don’t find the concept useful. Photography has got no rules. It’s an open field and all that really matters is your result. Give this concept a shot and explore for yourself whether this works for you. If it doesn’t work you can always go back to your old method. If it does, well, just enjoy!

Photography is a creative art form, meant to be explored and enjoyed at all times!

Basic Photography Digital Photography
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