3 Ways Having Minimal Gear Will Make You A Better Photographer

I know as photographers we sometimes get caught up in always having more. The more gear, the better, right? 

But when it comes to pushing your creativity, I think the phrase "less is more" should become your viewpoint.

Don't get me wrong, having different types of gear is important. While it's completely possible to shoot an entire wedding with a 50mm 1.2 lens, would it be ideal? Absolutely not. There are instances where you need various equipment to cover all your bases.

But in situations where you can stick with one body and one lens, I think it's a great way to really push yourself creatively to step outside of the box we tend to put ourselves in. 

For  a while now, my main lens has been a 50mm 1.8, and while it's not the best lens on the market it has forced me to get creative during my portrait sessions, and here's 3 ways how:

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1. Pushes me to use light creatively 


Because I don't have a ton of lenses to switch out to give me different looks during a session, I have to rely on other methods to add variety to my image galleries. One way I do that is by incorporating different types of light.

I'm always aiming to shoot sessions when the light is the most ideal in order to provide myself and my clients with the most opportunities for beautiful light throughout our time together.

While I'm shooting, I'm constantly looking for all the different types of light that are available and how I can best use that light to bring diversity to their images. 

2. Teaches me to use post-processing more creatively


Another way I bring variety to a session that was captured using the same lens is through post-processing. Adding various effects to images after they've been shot can completely change the mood and enhance the galleries.

One of my favorite effects to add in post-processing is the tilt-shift blur in photoshop. Using this effect creates an almost dream-like feel in a photo and adds a touch of magic that I love.

Another way I love using post-processing creatively is by varying my black and white images slightly. I love contrasty black and whites, but sometimes I want to add a vintage feel to my converted photos. In these cases, I'll add a slight matte effect with a bit of grain. 

Having both of these types of black & white images in my galleries adds interest to the overall collection of photos and can bring out the different moods of the images.

3. Pushes me to get creative while shooting


Not being able to switch out lenses during a shoot forces me to find other ways to get creative with the one lens I am using.

Free-lensing is definitely my favorite technique to use while shooting. Much like adding the tilt-shift effect during editing, it gives a dreamy mood to a photo. Free-lensing can be a bit difficult when first trying the technique, but with practice it gets easier and more fun to do. 

I also look for opportunities to add visual interest to my images by looking for texture in the frame. It may be found in the background of the image, or it may be a part of the subject themselves like their clothing. 

Either way, utilizing different textures throughout the photo collection is a way to add variety while shooting with the same lens.


3 Ways Minimal Gear Pushes You Creatively

  1. Encourages creative use of light
  2. Pushes more creative post-processing
  3. Forces you to be more creative while shooting

Focusing on minimizing your gear during a session is a great way to push yourself creatively. It forces you to be resourceful every step of the way - from shooting to post-processing. I encourage you to find ways to restrict yourself as a photographer, and see how it pushes you creatively. 

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