Create Stunning Photos With These 7 Wide-Angle Techniques
Many of the photographs you see online and in magazines are taken with a wide-angle lens. It’s a very popular focal length for landscape scenes in particular, mainly because the view’s angle lets you capture more of the scene. If these are the type of photographs you want to shoot but aren’t quite sure how to get the best results, these hints, tips, and tricks can help.
What Is a Wide-Angle Lens?
At their most basic, wide-angle lenses are DSLR or smartphone camera lenses that have a wider field of view than the human eye. Wide-angle typically refers to any lens that’s at least 24mm on an APS-C camera or 35mm wide on a full-frame camera body.
These lenses generate a field of view that’s wider than our natural one, even when you account for peripheral vision. For landscapes in particular, these lenses are an amazing tool that lets you capture vast swathes of landscapes that include a foreground in one picture.
Let’s find out how to turn you into a wide-angle whiz!
1. Avoid Using Too Many Elements
Although wide-angle lenses offer many advantages, they have their drawbacks too. Because the lens incorporates so much of the landscape into one image, it’s very easy to get too involved in visual interest, which leads to a distracting, chaotic photograph. The point is, just because you can photograph everything doesn’t mean you should.
Instead, if you’re using a wide-angle lens, pay more attention to the objects in the landscape that offer the most visual interest. Remember, everything in your shot has to have a reason for being there, whether it’s to tell a better story, frame the primary subject, or add color or texture.
Check your composition for distracting elements—those that take away from the primary subject—and frame them as far out of your shot as possible.
2. Enter Tight Spaces
Not all landscapes have wide-open vistas. Sometimes, they’re tiny by comparison, and this poses a somewhat significant challenge to experienced and new photographers alike. A wide-angle lens is the ideal choice in these situations because, even though you’re in tighter quarters, it will allow you to capture more of the scene in front of you.
More of the space will be captured in one shot, and this will make the landscape feel bigger than it actually is. Wide-angle lenses exaggerate the comparative sizes of subjects near and far, and to emphasize this effect, it’s crucial that you get very close to your subject.
Wide-angle lenses also typically have much closer minimum focusing distances and let your viewer see a lot more in tighter spaces.
3. Go Vertical
Photographers using wide-angle lenses most commonly shoot in horizontal formats. But don’t be afraid to move your camera on its side to take some vertical wide-angle shots as well.
Doing this will let you emphasize the height of a landscape element. Whether you’re shooting a mountain, a tree, or a waterfall, you’ll be able to get its entire length in the shot, even when you’re up close.
Additionally, the distinctive effect of a vertical wide-angle image allows the spectator to examine the landscape from the foreground all the way up to the sky.
4. Draw Attention to the Wide View
When you work with a wide-angle lens, you’ll be able to capture more of the view in front of you within a single frame. This has a few advantages, including:
Wide-angle lenses let you reveal the grand scale of a landscape. If vastness is an important element of the scene, you’ll be able to capture it.
At the same time, a wide-angle lens lets you showcase a single element in the vista while simultaneously allowing you to show its relationship to other objects in the view. This will strengthen the story you’re telling in your photograph, as you’re able to place the subject firmly in its environment.
5. Emphasize the Foreground
If you feel that an object in the foreground is the most important in your scene, a wide-angle lens will let you capture it that way. This is because it changes the distinguishing elements in the frame.
Those that are closer to the camera seem bigger than they actually are, and elements in the background will come across as smaller.
6. Highlight the Sky
If you come upon a dramatic sky scene, you’ll be very grateful you’ve got your wide-angle lens with you.
In the same way that these lenses allow you to capture the space of a landscape, they can help you get the essence of volume, too. To add to this, because the wide-angle lens view means you can incorporate both the sky and the landscape, you get the chance to create one image with a pronounced foreground and a striking sky at the same time.
7. Pay Attention to Your Angles
When you’re using a wide-angle lens, you’ll need to be aware of its ability to distort images. Barrel distortions, where straight lines seem to bow outwards, will frequently show up in your photographs, and this will worsen the wider you go.
Keep this in mind, especially when you’re taking pictures of people, and remember to check objects at the corner of your frame. If there’s any distortion, you need to bring your focus in a bit to avoid warping objects and people in an unrealistic way.
Get The Best Shots
Whether you’re working on your landscape portfolio and want to sell your images or you’re taking pictures for pleasure, accurately capturing the panoramic views in front of you is a very satisfying feeling. You find something interesting for the foreground, get some leading lines in the middle, and frame these against a beautiful backdrop and a gorgeous sky above.
But wide-angle lens camera work isn’t as simple as that, and there’s more to it than just pointing your camera at a scene you like. It can be a challenge to generate a visual impact with so much information in one picture. The tips in this article will help you avoid this. Follow them, and you’ll rapidly see an improvement in your wide-angle photographs.
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