Most Canon or Nikon DSLR cameras come with a lens that is called the “kit lens.” Enjoy these tips that will help you fall in love with using it to it’s fullest potential!
How many of you feel like you want to hide your kit lens away and never use it? Have you heard that they are just not very good lenses and you shouldn’t even bother with them? Well, I sure did at one point. I had just bought my Canon Rebel XSi and was so excited! I was so darn new at the whole photography thing so I went searching the internet for as much information as I could find. And that was a huge chunk of the advice I came across. Burst my happy little oblivious bubble!
So I felt the need to buy a new lens and I did, the 50mm. Yes, I caved to peer pressure! But looking back, I shouldn’t have taken that advice so seriously. And you shouldn’t either! I am here to tell you that you can absolutely, positively get fantastic images from your kit lenses!
I do a lot of non-people photography and I find that some of my very favorite photos have been done with my kit lens: the Canon 18-55mm IS f/3.5-5.6 lens. I’ve used this lens a lot since I started in photography and I’ve discovered some techniques along the way that made me fall in love with it!
1. Get Close!
One of the neat things about your kit lens is that it allows you to get pretty close to your subjects. The focusing distance is just a tad shorter than my other lenses and I love it! Being able to get closer to your subject allows you to throw more of the background out of focus, creating that yummy bokeh. It’s a fun little illusion.
I shot both of these flower photos zoomed in to 55mm, with an f/5.6 aperture. And you can see that I still was able to create really beautiful blurry backgrounds.
2. Go Wide!
With both the zoom and the aperture! Something about using this combination just creates magic! Zoom all the way out to 18mm and set your aperture the widest it will go. On mine it is f/3.5. When you are shooting indoors or where there are light sources, these settings make the light glow without having the starburst effect. I really like doing this to my indoor shots!
3. Get Wide and Narrow!
Landscape photography just begs for wide angles and narrow apertures! And it will usually sit still long enough for you to use a longer shutter speed, as you will need to have when you use a narrow aperture. I use my kit lens a lot when I do landscapes. It does a great job, and if you’re wanting the starburst effect, this lens is perfect for it! Simply add the sunshine, or some other light source, into your composition and voila!
4. Take Advantage of that Zoom!
This little lens has some great focal lengths in it. When you’re out and about and need to get closer or farther away, you won’t need to change your lenses. In these examples, I was able to get the wide shot of the whole room at 18mm. Then I moved to one of the cells and zoomed in a little to 28mm to capture that shot. Quick and easy and they turned out great!
If you have a kit lens, don’t be afraid to pull it out and use it! Let it charm you and sweep you off your feet! Fall in love with it! You may just capture some of your favorite images with it, as I have!
Michelle Johnson is a professional photographer and stay-at-home mom to two sweet little strong-willed girls who keep her on her toes! She is the co-founder of Love that Shot Blog. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest!