Tag Archives: wide angle lens

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?