10 Reasons Why You Should Spend Your First Three Years as a Photographer Using Only Prime Lenses

Nikon G series primes.

Nikon G series primes.

Your kit lens really isn’t that bad, but photographers who pick up a DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and who want to become serious about the craft should stick to a bare minimum. This post isn’t really about gear more so than it is about what you gain from the minimal load out of your kit.

It’s been said many times, over and over again, but it has to be said from the perspective of what you gain from limiting yourself creatively. You open yourself and your imagery up to lots of possibilities.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II first impressions images (12 of 22)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 1.7

So why should you use a prime lens? More specifically, why should you spend the first three years with just prime lenses?

– You eventually learn to think in specific focal lengths and can then therefore look to a scene and think and see what it would appear to be through said focal length. This helps you quickly develop creative ideas.

– The fact that you’re moving around makes you think more critically about composition and content in your images.

– By using a prime lens and thinking that you can always rely on it to create beautiful images, you’ll eventually enter a creative rut. During this rut, you’ll start to look at your photos much more critically and find the most random ideas to give you something new in your body of work.

– Can can usually get much more versatility from primes than you can from zooms when it comes to creating scenes due to the way that depth of field and apertures work.

– You’ll have to eventually force yourself out of being a bokeh fiend. It will teach you to get over just using bokeh to emphasize the subject and instead use elements like composition and color. Eventually, you’ll start to realize that all of your images look the same.

– Because all of your images will begin to look the same, you’ll need to figure out what subject matter to shoot and also figure out new ideas to make your images look fresh.

– You’ll eventually find a way to make anything and everything look good with that lens.

– You’ll spend more time thinking about how you’re going to use your lens to tell full, complete photo essays and to deliver something that no one else is really doing (or very few others are.)

– A prime lens can typically give you much sharper image quality than zoom lenses can.

– A prime lens eventually teaches you more about yourself and how you see the world vs how your camera sees it.