Make it hard on yourself. Give yourself a handicap, but make it work.
Try this example: Limit yourself to one fixed lens.
Back story: Most camera systems these days give you a wide-range zoom that allows you to easily adjust the focal length from wide-angle to telephoto. This is convenient, too convenient. So how about forcing yourself to use just one fixed focal length lens, regardless of the circumstance.
Back in the day, many beginning photographers started with a camera and just one lens. Some photographers were happy to use one focal length for all their photos.
What do I mean by fixed lens? I mean a prime lens; in other words a lens with non-adjustable focal length, so not a ‘zoom lens’. Fill the frame as you see fit; you might need to walk around a bit to make your composition work.
So why not give it a try. Pick a lens, maybe a 50mm, but make it work.
In my examples, I was using a prime 90mm lens with my FujiFilm XT1.
It was a bright morning last week when I exposed this view of a Trenitalia double-deck suburban train approaching its station stop at Rome Trastevere en route to Roma Termini (Rome’s main station).
I worked with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens for this photo.
Regular readers may have noticed that I’ve been making regular use of this camera/lens combination.
I have four lens for my FujiFilm XT1; 12/27/90mm fixed focal length (prime) lenses, plus an 18-135mm zoom lens. Lately the 27 and 90mm primes have been the most useful.
Why not use the zoom lens more? Here’s three reasons:
1) The 18-135mm zoom not as fast as the primes. My 90mm f2 is 2.5/3 stops faster that the 18-135mm.
2) The 18-135mm zoom isn’t as sharp.
3) I find that the discipline of working with a fixed focal length lenses lends to stronger images. This is an abstract notion, but often seems to be true.
Over the years I’ve gone back and forth between a preference for zooms over primes. It’s the toss up of convenience over image quality. There’s no one ‘right’ solution. But when I look back at my images that I prize the most, many of them have been exposed using prime glass.