As with anything a person does, we become comfortable with certain things and turn them into routine. Over time I feel that these routines make us lazy.

I’ve become lazy.

I have spent the past few months almost exclusively shooting with my 24-70 2.8 L series lens. During weddings I will bounce around between lenses constantly, but portraiture I have just stayed so far inside the box that it’s become upsetting. Sure the images were still loved by the clients (and myself), but creatively I always want to push myself.

Don’t get me wrong, the 24-70 is an amazing lens and I highly recommend having it in your bag and at your disposal.

For the past few portrait sessions I’ve shot, I have really leaned heavily on the 70-200 2.8 IS and really feel like I’ve walked into a whole new world. The 70-200 is more than a great zooming tool, the compression and bokeh it creates can be stunning.

On my last session (which should be blogged soon) I went back to one of my original obsessions, the 50mm 1.8. I had forgot how much I loved that cheap little plastic lens. The color it can bring out is breath taking and I’m now coveting the 50mm 1.2, but will probably settle for the 1.4 in the near future.

I didn’t mean for this to come out in this “stream of consciousness” manner, but I really wanted to say something before the topic slipped my mind and a post never written.

I implore any photographer to use ALL the lenses in your bag. Don’t fall into complacency and simply shoot what “works”. They all work, they all work in very different ways.

I recently read David duChemin’s eBook Ten and he has an amazing project in it on understanding your lenses. To take the experiment down to it’s root is this. Select a subject and start with one of your lenses by taking an image where the subject fills the frame. Now switch lenses and repeat, making sure to fill the frame in the same way each time.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at your results.

Racking your 70-200 out to a full 200mm and filling the frame will give you a much different perspective than if you push in tight with your 17mm wide angle.

Know your lenses, understand the perspectives they can give you, and the next time you’re shooting and want to use a specific lens…go with the complete opposite choice.

Push yourself.