There are many ways to take photos of buildings and other structures, but one of my favorite methods of capturing arcitecture is with a wide angle lens. I’m not just talking about the standard wide angles — I’m talking super-wides. I have a 10-20mm zoom, and I find myself shooting more at the 10mm range of the lens. It creates much more distortion than at 20mm, but I try using that to my advantage in order to give the subject more impact. So if you have a wide angle lens that causes distortion, ignore all the rules of architecture photography and get creative. See how strange you can make your subjects appear — who knows, it might look better that way.

St Louis Gateway Arch

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Superwides are a lot of fun for tall things. I was recently having fun with them for taking pictures of trees from underneath overhangs.

July 12, 2007 1:42 pm

This is the lens that I really want. I was on a photo shoot recently and noticed a young photographer always getting up close to things (rocks, flowers, cracks in the pavement). I realized that while he was viewing things in Macro, I really see things in Wide Angle. It will probably have to wait until next year, but I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

July 12, 2007 2:20 pm

They are a lot of fun. I’ve been shooting mostly with my 10-20mm on my cross-country trip. They make you think differently when you put the camera up to your eye — it’s a great mind exercise.

July 12, 2007 11:09 pm

Super wide angle makes scenes so much more dramatic.

January 28, 2008 8:49 am

Great idea, I’m really into using zoom lenses at the moment (just because its sunny here in Ireland at the moment and insects and so on look so cool) but I’ve been thinking about wide lenses recently. I like to take pictures of old ruinous buildings (castles and abbeys mostly) and you’ve given me a couple of good ideas


July 31, 2008 8:46 am

First off excellent site I have truly been motivated to shoot more due to a few post I have read over the past 2 months or so. I have been contemplating for the longest on going exclusively Wide. I own a tiny Olympus with both a pancake (25mm) and kit lens (14-42mm) and I find myself on the 14 end more often then not when the pancake is off.

Initially I thought it to be that since I have the pancake on quite often I don’t touch the lens (adjusting distance) much that I had acclimated myself to this form of Prime exclusive shots. But man do I want more in my shots!

I have researched both the 11-22 and 9-18 Zuikos (leaning terribly towards the 11 though) as my artistic taste fall within;

Architectural – emphasizing the structure/abstract unique geometry,
Photo-Documentary – Simply put situational/candid/street shots (Yes I read your street photography post! A Zoom is in the near future) I even read a site where a Wedding Photographer did the whole wedding with a wide angle zoom 17- 70 I believe? Much of the EXIF indicated a range between 17-24.
Urban Landscapes – Guess this would fall under architectural, sorta.

To the point I wish you’d revisit/update this article with more detail. OK, maybe you have plenty here already but as with my kit lens I want more!

Apologize for the winded comment as I am genuinely seeking an in depth post on the Wide end of photography and not simply looking for a link exchange and I enjoy your style of writing and the participation of your readers.

September 4, 2009 5:40 am

I was on the gateway arch in 2003 and it was great. It is just impressiv what was build there. And the museum is worth a look.

April 6, 2010 3:04 am

Comment now!