Most people buying a DSLR camera purchase it with the kit lens. The most popular lens to be bundled as kit lens is the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 for the entry-upper entry level DSLR models followed by 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 or the 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 or even 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 for the enthusiast/semi-pro DSLR models. Kit lenses are good to begin with but most photographers categorize them as junk as they drool on those fixed aperture heavy zoom monster lenses. If you’ve nothing more than kit lens then it becomes indispensable for you to learn to take good quality pictures with it. Following are some ways to maximize the potential of your kit lens.
Shooting at the wide end(18mm) brings in distortion. Use this distortion to create wacky portraits. Shoot a short person at the wide end from his toes & suddenly you have a tall standing subject. Shoot at wide end from above the person’s head & you can create a dwarf effect. Since wide angle makes things appear tiny you can experiment shooting indoor at home or in limited spaces bringing distortion to good effect.
Who said you need a fast prime to get awesome portraits? Your kit lens is very much capable of doing a fairly good job at portraits. If you’ve the 18-55mm lens consider shooting portraits at 35mm & the corresponding aperture. Leave considerable space behind your subject while shooting. This would ensure a nice blurry background and a razor sharp subject.
Landscape & Group Portraits
Kit lens is an ideal lens for landscape and group shots. The primary reason – it being an economical option to shoot landscapes & group portraits. Second – the kit lens delivers sharper results sans other defects(vignetting, chromatic aberrations etc) when stopped down. Stopping down a lens means narrowing aperture which mean shooting at higher f numbers. Since landscapes & group portraits need a high depth of field the kit lens turn out to be a best option. Simply shoot at f/8.0 which is the sweet spot of most kit lens to get sharper photographs. Avoid going above f/11 as it will soften the image due to diffraction.
I do not believe in post-processing images like there is no tomorrow as it takes the fun out of the photography. However knowing & performing basic exposure alongwith other simple tweaks is what I do myself. If you want to get around some drawbacks(vignette, soft image, distortion, contrast) of your kit lens then you need to post-process/edit the photographs later in Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. Don’t go overboard though or you may end up with a disastrous photograph. As far as possible avoid this tip. This tip was included only for those who loathe perfection. Instead I suggest, be careful while shooting to save hassle of tedious post-processing. Make each photograph with thought & no jury in the world would deny it an award even if it was shot with the humble kit lens.
If you have more tips & tricks to take great photos with the kit lens then let me know in the comments below. I’ll be glad to include them in the main post.
Image Credits : Cameralabs