If you want to change the way your photos look for the better, one of the best things you can do is get a prime lens and use it exclusively for a while.
This can be a hard step for some photographers to take, though, especially if you're new to the game and have thus far relied on the zoom lens that came with your camera body.
But trust me - prime lenses will change the way you work, and your photos will benefit greatly.
Editor's Tip: If you don't have a prime lens yet, and don't want to spend a ton of money, buy a pre-owned lens. You can check out current deals on pre-owned prime lenses (and lots of other photography gear) by clicking here.
Get Sharper Photos
One of the best features of a prime lens is the fact that it offers improved sharpness over zoom lenses.
The reason for that is because prime lenses have fewer elements, thereby fewer opportunities for the light passing through the lens to degrade.
While we're at it, prime lenses have less distortion, vignetting, and other aberrations than zoom lenses.
So not only can you get photos that are sharper, but photos that are cleaner, too.
Learn to Be Creative
Zoom lenses are great, don't get me wrong.
But since you can stand pat and change the focal length with a twist of the lens barrel, zooms can lead to a little bit of laziness.
Primes have a fixed focal length, though, so you're forced to get more creative when taking shots.
You have to move closer to the subject or further away, and in doing so, you think about the shot more, how to frame it, and how to compose it more effectively.
Work With Less Light
Prime lenses are revered for their ability to work well in low-light situations.
That's because primes often have larger maximum apertures than zooms.
For example, if you shoot with the 18-55mm kit lens that came with your camera, it's largest aperture is likely f/3.5-5.6, depending on the level of zoom.
But if you use a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, you can open up the aperture to f/1.8 and collect much more light.
As a consequence, you can also use a faster shutter speed, too. That's advantageous for situations in which the lighting is on the dim side, but you don't want to have blurred movement in the shot.
Though some higher-end prime lenses are a bit bulky, by and large, primes are much lighter than zoom lenses.
Combined with a smaller form factor, that means that you can travel light with a prime lens.
Without being bogged down with a ton of gear, you can more quickly and efficiently move around to get the shots you need.
And don't think that because prime lenses have a fixed focal length that they aren't versatile...
One of the best features of prime lenses is that they can often be used for a variety of purposes.
A 35mm prime lens, for example, is great for portraiture, landscapes, street photography, and many other pursuits. That holds true whether you use a crop sensor or full frame camera.
So, again, with just a single prime lens, you can tackle all sorts of subjects without being weighed down.
Learn the Basics
Prime lenses are fantastic for learning the basics of different types of photography.
For example, you can reverse-mount a 50mm lens on your camera and use it as a macro lens.
You can add an ND filter to any prime lens, open up the aperture, and get beautifully blurry backgrounds in portraits during the daytime.
Alternatively, you can use an ND filter with a prime lens to slow down the shutter speed for beautiful long exposure landscapes.
Prime lenses are also great for shooting video because they're so lightweight and sharp.
It's a Good Investment
As if all the previously-mentioned reasons aren't enough to get a prime lens, consider this...
Prime lenses tend to be less expensive than their zoom counterparts.
That means that you can get a really nice prime lens for the same price you'd pay for an entry-level or mid-grade zoom lens.
In fact, many major camera companies - Canon and Nikon included - offer excellent prime lenses for well under $200.
Lenses are by far the most important piece of gear for taking the best photos, so investing in a good prime lens or two will serve you well!
Watch the video above from DigitalRev TV to see these and other reasons why prime lenses are so good.
Editor's Tip: Have old lenses you no longer use? You can trade them in to MPB for a new-to-you-lens or sell them outright and pocket the money. MPB is one of the largest marketplaces for buying and selling used photography gear, with a huge inventory of products. See what they have to offer here.