A simple exercise to boost creativity


We photographers are known to have G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

We purchase the latest equipment, thinking it’ll produce better images. Then we slip into our comfort zone and instead of working with our subject, we rely too much on our gear and make excuses when we don’t get the shot.

But better gear doesn’t necessarily mean better photos.

One of my favorite exercises that helped me overcome this issue is to go out for a day (or even an entire week) with only one camera with one lens. I leave all my extra gear at home and stick with what I have the entire day.

It not only cured my G.A.S. problems, but also helped me become a much better photographer.

Although the idea is to shoot with only one lens, what is really important is to use one focal length as if you were carrying a prime lens. Carrying an 18-300mm lens and zooming in and out all the time defeats the whole purpose of the exercise. If you don’t own a prime lens, that’s alright! Grab your favorite lens, pick one focal length for the day and stick with it. No cheating! If you have to zoom, use your feet.

Here are the benefits of this exercise:

1- It’s lighter on your shoulders:

One of the main advantages of using only one lens is that it’s lighter and you won’t be subjecting your shoulders and back to a lot of stress. You can leave that big heavy camera bag behind you and not deal with having to switch lenses to capture everything around you. Your back will thank you for it.

Another advantage is that It helps you move around easily and blend in the crowd, allowing you to get closer to your subject.

2- It teaches you to plan and compensate:

Carrying only one lens limits you, which in turn forces you to plan and compensate for that limitation on the spot.

For example, if you want to capture a landscape with an 80mm lens, you can either focus on certain interesting parts of the landscape or take multiple shots and create a panorama instead.

It also pushes you to move with your feet to get closer and create a connection with your subject.

3- It boosts your creativity:

As photographers, we already see the world differently. To fuel your creativity, one lens encourages you to think about new ways of photographing your subjects, experiment with your composition and think outside the box.

The more you shoot, the more your focus shifts to adapt to the lens you are using.

For example, when I was shooting with a 50mm macro lens for a day, I started paying more attention to the smallest details around me instead of looking at the big picture.

I hope this motivates you to give it a try. Restrict yourself to one focal length, experiment with your composition and feel free to share your results with us on our Facebook group!

P.S. We’ve got an exciting new project about to be announced. It’s something we’ve never done before, a Photo Kickstart Party, and full details will be revealed next week. Watch this space.