6 Tips for Mastering Your Camera Lenses

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1. Use the lens exclusively for a month

In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell put forward the now-famous idea that true mastery of a skill takes 10,000 hours of practice. The idea of putting in your 10,000 hours applies to photography as a whole rather than using a single lens. But there’s no doubt that by using the same lens, and no other, for an extended period of time it will help you get to know that lens really well.

You can put this idea into practice in a small way by taking just one camera and one lens out on a shoot. For example, if you have a portrait shoot then take along a short telephoto prime lens. If you’re shooting landscapes, take a wide-angle lens.
Mastering camera lenses

I often take just a single lens on a portrait shoot. The only lens I had on me for this one was an 85mm short telephoto.

You can take it further and extend the exercise for a week, a month, or even longer. It’s up to you.

This exercise is easiest with a prime lens. If you do it with a zoom I suggest that you pick one focal length and stick to that. The idea is to get familiar with how a specific focal length behaves. You can’t do that if you are zooming from one to the other.

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