How to Stop Being Bored with a Standard 50mm Lens

The 50mm lens puts photographers into one of two camps. Some subscribe to it like they’re going to church. They listen to its every word and receive joy similar to being part of a passionate community. Other photographers think the 50mm lens is also like church, but they’re the folks who sleep during the sermon until someone lets them know they’re snoring. Those people will keep a 50mm lens around just because they might need one. But in the past few years, I’ve found ways to make the 50mm lens less boring.

Give It Cool Lens Filters

Lots of folks may scoff at putting a filter on a lens. It’s not the same as applying the Gingham filter on Instagram or the Mastin filters in Lightroom. Instead, you’re doing it in-camera. Why? Why the heck not? You’re bored. You’re trying something new and breaking out of the stale monotony of modern photography. Shooting with a 50mm lens shouldn’t be boring. If you want to be bored, you could call your phone provider, be placed on hold, and then ask them to place you back on hold. Photography should be fun, and passionate photographers end up creating the best work when they’re motivated and enjoying the process.

One of our favorite things to do is put filters like those from PrismFX on the lens. These aren’t just softening and hazing filters. They change the image pretty drastically. I’m personally really loving the Radiant filter. Put it on a lens, and you’ll appreciate the spark of new life your photos will have. 

Don’t Shoot at All Using the Viewfinder

Here’s a big one. Lots of photographers shoot with the viewfinder most of the time. Well, stop it. Shoot using the LCD screen instead. More importantly, work with different angles; don’t just shoot at eye level. Get lower. Lay down on the ground. Get up high. Shoot using the LCD screen from an angle where you can barely see the screen. 

Better yet, load up the app that’s supposed to be used with your smartphone and your camera. Shoot from a completely different perspective and use the phone as the remote.

Maybe It’s Time to Buy a Different 50mm Lens

Last but not least, it could just be the 50mm lens that you’ve got on your camera. It’s true. Some 50mm lenses are just better than others. Get something unique and different. If you’re going to get a new lens and then edit the photo in post-production for a while, then you’re not embracing the 50mm. You can do what you’re doing in post-production with any lens on the market. So it’s your job to get something completely different.

What does that mean?

  • Get a vintage lens
  • Buy a third party 50mm
  • Get a lens with a different maximum aperture
  • Try a 50mm lens with a macro setting
  • Rent another 50mm

I think that this was the case for me. I own a few different camera systems. But, the only 50mm lenses I personally like are the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 (not a true 50mm), the Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM, and the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 R. The latter has a very unique character and look that can’t be beaten. The Canon lens looks like medium format. And the Sony Zeiss is one of Sony’s sharpest lenses but also beautiful.

Shoot with a 50mm in a way that makes you happy.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.