Sony Artisan of Imagery Otto Schulze specializes in very high-end weddings. He and partner James Christianson are in constant demand and they're regularly called upon to travel around the world to shoot engagements, weddings and other affairs. Under such a busy schedule it would be easy to become formulaic in how you work. After all a formula that works can make life easy. But can also make life and the images dull. One way that Schulze battles a creative lull is by changing up how he sees through the camera. He does that quite literally, switching out his "comfort lenses" in favor of focal lengths that he's less used to.
Schulze explains, "Challenge your brain to adapt to new input. If, like us, you tend to favor longer lenses like a 70-200mm f/2.8 at wide-open apertures, then this time grab a 35mm prime lens or a 12-24mm zoom and see your subject in a different way. Get uncomfortable and stay right there. When you do this, you grow creatively!"
Photo by Otto Schulze, James + Schulze Photography. Sony RX1R II. 1250-sec., f/2.0, ISO 125. Instead of his usual longer lens like the 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master on an α7R II, Otto Schulze switched to the RX1R II with it's 35mm f/2.0 prime lens and took a very different kind of photo than he usually does. Changing to your least-used lens and forcing yourself to take photos with it can yield long-term creative benefits whether you're a new photographer or a season professional.
As Schulze says, doing this can be and should be uncomfortable and it can also be frustrating. Don't let frustration win, though. "The benefits might not be immediate," he says. "You might take some weak images and feel disoriented as you shoot, but with some time, the reward will far outweigh any quick fix. It's a principle James and I live, and shoot, by!"