Monthly Archives: May 2009

8 Tips for Shooting Extremely Wide Angles

Wide angle photography can be fun and challenging at the same time. On one hand, it’s great to pull in so much of a scene with a single shot. On the other hand, it can be difficult to produce a well composed photo at such a wide perspective. So I’ve pulled together a few photos and pieces of advice for shooting with wide angle lenses.


For the purpose of this article, we’ll consider anything at or below 30mm (full frame equiv) to be a wide angle.

1. GO VERTICAL

Shooting in a portrait orientation with a wide angle lens can produce wonderful images, even landscapes (which are more commonly shot using landscape orientation). Going vertical allows you to pack a lot of information into the frame, basically from your feet to way up in the sky.

Black's Beach Below, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

Just In Time, by Andreas Manessinger
Photo by Andreas Manessinger
[©]

2. GO HORIZONTAL

Though vertical shots are fun, horizontals will sometimes be better suited for the subject. Evaluate the scene and decide which elements you want to be prominent in the photo.

The Watchman, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

The Place to Be, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

3. EMPHASIZE THE FOREGROUND

Get low or point the camera down to make your foreground the main subject. Since objects in the foreground are much closer than the background, they will appear quite large in comparison. As you get closer to your subject, this emphasis becomes stronger.

Kelp Me, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

The Shell, by Garry
Photo by Garry
[CC by-nc-sa]

4. SHOOT FOR THE SKY

If you have some nice cloud formations, don’t forget to point that lens up at the sky. The wide angle can pull in a huge portion of the sky and make for a great scene.

Wide Open, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

The Barn and the Sky, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

5. PLAY WITH GEOMETRY

Capturing shapes and geometry with wide angles forces you to look at the world a bit differently. Look for large structures containing strong lines or curves, and move around until you find those shapes.

Bridge Over Still Water, by Andreas Manessinger
Photo by Andreas Manessinger
[©]

Hypnosis, by Thomas Hawk
Photo by Thomas Hawk
[CC by-nc]

6. TAKE A PORTRAIT

Wide angle lenses can be used to take portraits, if you’re mindful of the distortions caused by the lens. If you shoot around 30mm (or 20mm for 1.5x crop sensors) and keep your subject near center, the distortion will usually be minimal. On the other hand, you can use very wide angles and get up close to produce a distorted portrait on purpose.

On The Other Side of the Fence, by Brian Auer
Photo by Brian Auer
[CC by-nc-nd]

A cow, by Dave Wild
Photo by Dave Wild
[CC by-nc]

7. TRY A DIFFERENT ANGLE

Wide angle lenses allow you to capture a large scene at very close distances. This means that you can shoot from all sorts of different angles that wouldn’t be possible with normal or telephoto lenses.

Jump out of here! by Stefano Corso
Photo by Stefano Corso
[CC by-nc-nd]

Staircase snail, by Éole Wind
Photo by Éole Wind
[CC by-nc-sa]

8. WATCH THAT DISTORTION

Wide angle lenses are prone to various distortions at extreme focal lengths. You might encounter things like barrel or pincushion distortion, especially at the edges and corners of your frame. If you want to avoid them, keep things like people or buildings away from these areas. But don’t always try to avoid them — use them to your advantage if the subjects are suited for it.

Warp, by Cristian Paul
Photo by Cristian Paul
[CC by-nc-nd]

100: I Need More Sleep, by Josh Hunter
Photo by Josh Hunter
[CC by-nc-nd]

As always, feel free to leave your own tips and/or photos in the comments below. For those of you that shoot wide, what advice do you have for others?

PhotoDump 03-22-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 3/15 and 3/22.

Mind Like Water - self 1a by Neil Cowleysending you "x"s and "o"s by vandyll.netBlack umbrella by Håkan DahlströmGoing Down by Brian AuerFaded Beauty by kerry okraHome sick by I Take Faux Toes by ★ Mathias Pastwa ★Leaving by The Creative ControlNolan House by JonathanRobsonPhotography.comThe Ride Up by Brian Auer by ★ Mathias Pastwa ★windy by poopooramaThe Long View by davebcohenLisman_050720_30052 by Rex Lisman (Arrest Cheney)Ice on the Lake by Rory.WPrinceton Sheep by cliff2nSpiral by ergatesThùy by analoxboyhood by dawn m. armfieldfredd by bildterapiWhite dreams by Lady_RhinoaCuriosity by Brian AuerCasa Mila - Detail by cabbitunderwater step by javiyMojo's Moment by Joanie Hgirl on a swing by xgrayFor Heavens Sake by Chris Farrugia (chrisfarrugia.net)yellow tulips in spring by what_milkCity Hall, with parcheesi by Ed_ZWindows by fotomaniac.it

Link Roundup 05-02-2009

Once again, it’s been a few weeks since the last set of links. Here are some of the more interesting ones I’ve come across.

  • HDR Photography
    Travel Photography
    PhotoNetCast
    In episode 27 of PhotoNetCast, we talk with Dave Wilson about HDR photography. This includes all the ins and outs of capturing and processing the images. And if you’re going to be traveling in the near or distant future, be sure to listen to episode 28 where we discuss the many aspects of taking your camera gear to new locations.
  • Photojournalist: G.M.B. Akash — Child Labor
    Child Labor – Part Two
    Zoriah.net
    Amazing set of photos from Bangladesh on the subject of child labor — sad, but definitely worth a look.
  • Kenya – Child Poverty
    Kenya – Child Poverty – Part Two
    Zoriah.net
    Another great set of photos from Zoriah as he explores child poverty in Kenya.
  • Photography 101.7 – ISO
    digital Photography School
    If you’ve ever been confused or curious about the term “ISO”, this article lays out all the basics for you.
  • The Lazy Rule of Thirds
    Jake Garn
    Jake Garn gives a great discussion on the rule of thirds and where it really comes from — the golden mean. He also shows some amazing examples of how the golden mean fits into his own compositions.
  • the DIY 30 second light tent
    f/1.0
    Ever need a light tent for a product shoot, but didn’t have one handy? Here’s a quick DIY alternative to the traditional piece of equipment.
  • 10 Tips When Using dSLRs in High Humidity
    JMG-Galleries
    Whether you live in a high humidity climate or you’re just visiting one, here are some essential tips for keeping your equipment working in these harsh conditions.
  • 22 Professional Photoshop Image Enhancing Tutorials
    Six Revisions
    For you Photoshop enthusiasts, here’s a good little list of tutorials and techniques for enhancing your photos.