Kit Lens Photography Tips & Tricks

Most professional photographers are quick to write off kit lenses. With a plethora of glass available on the market, there’s always something more glamorous out there than the humble lens packaged with your DSLR camera. Regardless, brothers Alexis and Victor Koldunov take a moment to reexamine their kit lenses and discover the creative capabilities that may not be immediately:

Create Your Own Bokeh

One of the reasons photographers flock to medium and full format cameras is their ability to create dreamy bokeh while still portraying a subject in perfect clarity. For this effect, many people count out their kit lens because of its inability to reach the wide open apertures common in prime lenses. However, it’s possible to create the same qualities attained by fancier gear using nothing more than your kit lens and photo editing software.

To do so, work with the maximum focal length available. Shoot several frames from a single vantage point without changing any camera settings between shots. Once your have all of your exposures, stitch them into a panorama on the computer. You’ll see that the result has a soft, blurred background that would not be attainable from a single shot with the kit lens.

one shot vs panoramas

Take Macro Photographs

Most kit lenses have relatively short focal lengths, and when properly attached to a camera, they’re not the ideal choice for any sort of up close and personal photography. But it’s possible to completely transform your lens by simply changing the way in which you use it.

The trick? Flip your lens around. With the part of the lens usually connected to the camera’s sensor on the outside, you’ll see that it’s possible to pick up fine details that normally would only be visible using a telephoto lens.

telephoto photograph

Mimic Tilt-Shift Lenses

Much like the macro technique explained above, it’s possible to create effects similar to those of tilt shift lenses by simply detaching your lens from your camera.

Instead of flipping the lens, simply hold it at an angle to the camera’s sensor. The effects seen in tilt shift photography are caused when the glass inside of a lens is at an angle rather than parallel to the sensor. By holding your lens in different ways, you can create a tilt of your own and completely control an image’s areas of focus.

tilt shift lens

Even the most modest of tools have something to offer. So, don’t be so quick to store your kit lens away on a dusty, forlorn shelf. With a closer look, you may just find a way of repurposing it into something beneficial to your artistic eye.

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