You've probably heard that kit lenses aren't that good.
Compared to high-end lenses, they aren't.
But that doesn't mean that they're so terrible that it's impossible to get great shots.
In fact, given the right set of circumstances, you can get epic photos with the lens that came with your camera.
Here's a few keys to unlocking the potential of your kit lens.
Editor's Tip: If you want to upgrade your lens experience, you can do so without breaking the bank. Find out how.
Don't Shoot in Full Auto
Okay, so this tip applies to using any lens, not just a kit lens.
Full auto mode is fine when you're a brand new photographer, but if you have any amount of time behind the lens, you need to take more control over what the camera does.
After all, the more control you have, the more you can get out of your camera and your lens.
That doesn't mean that you have to dive right into shooting in full manual mode, either.
If you shoot in aperture priority mode, you can control the aperture and ISO, and the camera controls the shutter speed.
And since you leave the ISO at its lowest setting in most situations, that means you really only have to adjust the aperture.
But what if you want to shoot a moving subject, like your kid playing soccer or a babbling brook at the local park?
In that case, give shutter priority mode a try.
Shutter priority allows you to control the shutter speed, that way you get to decide if motion is frozen or blurred. The camera controls the aperture.
And, again, you can control the ISO, but in most cases you can just leave it at its lowest setting to get solid results.
Find the Sweet Spot of Your Kit Lens
All lenses have a sweet spot, or an aperture setting at which they produce the sharpest results.
This varies from one lens to the next, but is usually in the f/8-f/11 range.
Now, you can't always shoot at that aperture, as evidenced by the previous tip to use f/5.6 when taking portraits to get a blurry background.
But, when you are able to, avoid using the smallest and largest apertures that the lens allows to get the best kit lens performance.
That's because at the extremes, the lens is less sharp and produces more distortion, vignetting, and other unsightly things in your photos.
Editor's Tip: Learn how to find the sweet spot of your lens.
Give Your Lens Some Light
Because kit lenses don't have very large maximum apertures, they aren't the best for shooting images in low-light conditions, like outdoors at dusk or indoors with minimal artificial lighting.
So, to get the highest-quality images out of your kit lens, you'll need adhere to this kit lens photography tip: be sure there's plenty of light for the lens to collect.
That doesn't mean that you can only shoot outdoors during the middle of a sunny day, either...
If you're shooting indoors, turn on all available lights and open any curtains or shades to let in what natural light you can. You can also consider using a flash to brighten up the scene or a reflector as well.
When shooting outdoors at dusk, incorporate light from a flashlight, the headlights of your car, street lamps, and so forth.
Again, these light sources will allow your kit lens to collect much more light so that you can get a cleaner shot and avoid having to boost the ISO to help the exposure.
Of course, you can also put your camera on a tripod and slow the shutter down to give the camera's sensor more time to collect light as well.
Use the Zoom Range to Your Advantage
Perhaps the best part about a kit lens is that it has a variable focal length that ranges from about 18mm to about 55mm.
That means you can take wide-angle shots and standards shots with one lens.
So, use that to your advantage and vary the types of photos you take.
Shoot a portrait at 55mm to get a closer view of your subject.
Then zoom out wide to 18mm to photograph a landscape.
Try 35mm for street photography or 24mm for architecture shots.
The point is that a kit lens is highly versatile, and that opens up many possibilities for you to take all sorts of photos!