One Lens: Can You Get by in Photography with Only One? - Pretty Presets Tutorial

Making One Lens Work For You

One of the most common questions asked by those interested in pursuing photography is, “What lens should I buy to start out with?” It’s a tough choice and there are a lot of options. And for every option available, there are a myriad of opinions.

And those opinions are valid. Choosing a lens is like choosing an outfit. You can’t just go into the store and buy whatever you want, hoping it will work. You have to consider the occasion, the weather, the cut and type of fabric. All of those factors help to determine whether a garment is the right choice for you.

Choosing a lens is similar. What type of photography do you plan to shoot with it? Do you prefer a prime lens or a zoom lens? Is overall size and weight a consideration? Are you shooting on a full frame body or using a cropped sensor body? What is your budget?

These are just a few of the most common aspects to ponder. (And I would highly recommend renting a lens before purchase, just to make sure it’s a good fit).

Using Just one lens for portraits

Shooting An Entire Session With Only One Lens

But have no fear because there is an upside to all this decision making. While I can’t tell you what the best lens is for you particularly, I can tell you that one lens is perfectly sufficient to get started - and thrive - in photography!

I wanted to demonstrate that to you by shooting an entire session (all of the images in this post) with only one lens, in this case, my Fuji 35mm f/1.4 prime lens. (For those of you on a full frame body, that’s roughly a 50mm equivalent).

Using this one lens and "zooming with my feet" allowed me to get in close for portraits as well as move further back to get the entire family in the shot. The medium range focal length didn’t produce any distortion so I was free to compose the shot however I liked.

Family Portrait Session Using Just One Lens

One Lens for Photographing a Senior Girl

Family Photography with One Lens

Sure, I could have used a wide angle lens for group shots and a longer telephoto lens for the tighter portraits…but I didn’t need to. The ease and simplicity of shooting with only one lens is really a wonderful experience that I would encourage everyone to try it!

Benefits of Using Only One Lens

When you’re not taking time to change out lenses, you actually have more time to interact with your subjects. Using one lens is a much more efficient use of time, especially during, say, a mini session event where you won't have to waste your precious shooting time switching between lenses

In addition, it spurs on creativity and forces you to change your perspective often, while also offering you the opportunity to become very familiar with your gear. I'm a firm believer in "you will learn what you use" - and if you’re exclusively using only one lens, you’ll master that focal length much more quickly than you would otherwise.

After all, having multiple lenses doesn’t do you any good if you’re not using them to their full potential. Don’t make that mistake. Start with one lens, learn it inside out, and then go from there.

Do you have any questions or comments about Using Only One Lens? Do you have a favorite lens? Just leave us a comment below - and PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)! 

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Lea Hartman Photography