Photography Exercise: Try Using Just One Focal Length

The key to developing yourself as a photographer is consistency Photographer James Popsys shares an exercise that you can practice to improve your photography. Luckily, it doesn’t involve push-ups:

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When you limit yourself to a single focal length, whether it be by using a prime or a zoom lens, you need to work extra hard in finding the right perspective and composition. This really forces you to be aware of your surroundings and your composition, and really makes you think when taking a photo.

“Using just one focal length is really physically and mentally taxing.”

As you might have heard many times before, when you’re limited to a single focal length, you need to zoom with your feet. This means you need to move around until you find the right composition. This can be physically challenging. It also makes you think really hard before pressing the shutter. The fact that you have to make creative and aesthetic decisions when sticking to just a single focal length makes it a mental exercise.

physical and mental taxing

Pay Attention to Things Closer to You

Most photographers have a tendency to look around as far as the eyes can see when taking a photo. They’re so used to looking at a distance that they forget to look at things that are closer to them. When you stick to using a single focal length, be sure to look for details in your subjects that are nearby.

pay attention to closer subjects

Taking photos doesn’t get easier when you dedicate yourself to using a single focal length. The lens that you have with you may not be suitable for every situation. You may thus not be able to take good images immediately, which will make you feel desperate to try and find something to take a photo of. In return, this will force you to start exploring options and turn on your creativity.

photography exercise

When walking around with a single focal length, try to photograph whatever you find really interesting. Normally you’d use an appropriate focal length to get the distractions out of the way or add in elements. But, you won’t have that liberty when working with a single focal length. You’ll need to find a way to work around this challenge.

photograph what catches your eyes

Are you willing to get on with this exercise?

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