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Hey Photographer, Shannon here!

If you’re new to photography and want to continue progressing, you should seriously (and I mean seriously!) consider investing in a prime (also referred to as a “fixed”) lens. Using your kit lens is great when you are learning the basics, but once you’ve developed a solid handle on how to use your camera, there are many advantages to upgrading to a prime lens.

Personally, I’m finding that my whole perspective on shooting is shifting, and in the very best way! Here are several reasons why I suggest you start practicing with this type of lens:

  1. Improved quality- The first thing you should know about prime lenses is they aren’t made to zoom in and out, so you’re working with a fixed focal length. This means there are less moving parts to your lens, which makes your images better technically, and they won’t suffer as many visual defects or perspective warping. You’ll immediately notice your prime lens produces more professional-looking photos!
  2. And more about not being able to zoom… This can only mean one thing: YOU are your camera’s zoom! This has been one of the most frustrating aspects for me, but also one of the most rewarding. Moving my own body closer or further away from whatever I’m photographing not only makes me work harder, but it forces me to get creative. I need to give even more thought to how I want my shot to look. Hello, creative control.
  3. They’re inexpensive- Compared to other lenses, which can cost several hundred dollars, a prime lens is about $200 or less. I purchased a refurbished 50mm f/1.8 for about $175. Especially when you’re first starting out, you might not have the money for tons of expensive equipment, so prime is the way to go. Your pockets will thank you.
  4. It’s small and lightweight- If you refer to one of my earlier posts about practicing photography every day, you’ll see that I mentioned it’s a good idea to take your camera everywhere so you can shoot at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to lug a heavy, bulky lens around, so a compact prime lens will take some weight off. And, if you’re holding your camera for several hours, this will make a difference.  
  5. Take advantage of a smaller aperture- With a prime lens, you can adjust your aperture down to f/1.8 (and sometimes lower) and maximize the amount of available light. This also means you can achieve better images in dimly lit settings, and create a more shallow depth of field to isolate the foreground from the background. Watch your subjects pop, and fall in love!

Happy shooting!

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