girl model with jewellery shot with a 50mm lens

5 Years of Shooting With Only One Lens

I’ve spent the last five years shooting with a single lens: an analog 50mm 1.8 (replaced with a 2.8 after the former got scratched and ditched). The iris being broken, I was fortunately stuck shooting with a very shallow DOF rather than having the image completely crisp at f/16.

Having only one option to shoot with is both limiting and challenging. There were so many times when I wished I had a wide-angle lens, but the price of a 35mm/1.8 isn’t very inviting. That said, I think shooting with one lens has taught me several things I wouldn’t have been able to learn otherwise:


Of course better (and way more expensive!) gear is required for professionals, but I’m reaching out to all of you beginner photographers who feel intimidated by your cheap equipment: a camera doesn’t make you a photographer! It’s the hours you spend shooting, watching tutorials, coming up with concepts and editing.
People oftentimes think I shoot my photos with a beast of a lens and get confused when they see me carrying an old one bought off Ebay for 20$.

old analog 50mm lens
Not only is it cheap, an analog lens makes photos look more like they were captured on film!


Having only one option available can really push you to think outside the box and test your skills. Setting boundaries can boost your creativity and being limited to one lens only is definitely a part of that. I’ve shot portraits, macros and done composites using the Brenizer method all with my nifty fifty.


Although experimentation is a meaningful part in fine art photography, knowing the possibilities and boundaries of your lens is key.

You learn to adapt to the gear you own and become conscious which tasks you’re able to perform and which ones you should avoid if you want a decent photo. Prior to accepting any job offers, this knowledge can help you figure out if you’ll technically be able to fulfill it.

For example: using my 50mm for architecture? Not a good idea. But for portraiture it works wonders!

girl model with jewellery shot with a 50mm lens
Shot against a clean gray background with natural soft light, Zvonka’s red jewellery became the center-piece of the photo. Model: Zvonimira Karavida, 2014.



photographer self portrait with cameraAbout the author
Hi! I’m Isabella and I’m a photographer, blogger and applied arts graduate. I love spending my time creatively, or watching movies, drinking tea, playing with my cats and hanging out with friends.
Find me hereย isabellabubola.comย or on Facebook and say hello!


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