Wide angle lenses can open up small spaces, create impressive landscapes, and add a touch of style to your photographs. Below are some examples of how I use wide angle lenses to create interesting images.
OPEN UP SMALL SPACES
Extreme wide angle lenses can give you much more detail about a confined space, such as the inside of a car or a small room. While you can use a fish eye lens to achieve this, it's this author's opinion that a rectilinear wide angle lens is the better option. You get distortion, but it's not circular like a fish eye lens. The photo above was taken on a full frame Canon with a 17-40mm lens at 17mm. As you can see, there is distortion at the edges, but it adds an interesting stylistic element. And if you don't like it, you can always adjust it in photo editing apps like Photoshop.
In the picture above, the dog's head is relatively larger than the body, and the dog in the background looks much further away. This technique isolates a subject while still providing context of their location in space. And again, it creates a cool, stylistic look that helps your photo stand out.
CREATE A CINEMATIC FEEL
Many movies utilize wide angle lenses to give a sense of closeness to a character. You see their expressions clearly and feel their emotions while maintaining perspective of what's around them. This same technique applies to photos. Here we can see a serious look on the boy in the foreground...probably thining about his next snowball target!
LANDSCAPES - WIDER IS BETTER
Wide angle lenses can add more drama to your landscape shots by taking in more of the scenery and making clouds appear to stretch out in the corners. Couple wide angle with a long exposure, like I did in this photo, and you get an even more dramatic look, A quality wide angle lens is a must for serious landscape shooters.
Shooting with wide angle lenses is one of my favorite ways to capture images. I hope this article inspires you to "go wide" on your next photography adventure!
Brant Waldeck is a professional photographer and cinematographer living in North Carolina.
As someone who is passionate about capturing meaningful, beautiful imagery, I've learned that photography is a great teacher of life lessons. Here's what it teaches us:
Patience - Many kinds of photography require patience. If you want to photograph wildlife or a beautiful sunset, you need to patiently await the right moment. It might take weeks of trying to get a great shot. Which brings me to my next lesson...
Perseverance - All great photographers will do what it takes to get a great shot...get up at 3am, trek up a mountain, wait for hours in a wildlife blind, stand in the freezing cold waiting on a star time lapse to finish. It's not easy getting great shots. You have to work at it.
Never Stop Learning - Camera technology continues to open up new possibilities, and social media provides photographers with a constant stream of amazing photos that drive us to learn new techniques. You can always learn something new about lighting, exposure, lenses, composition, and so much more.
Look for Beauty in Everything - This may be the most important lesson that photography teaches us. As photographers, our gift to the world is capturing a moment in all its glory. Whether it's a big event, a portrait, a landscape, dogs playing in the snow or a dilapidated old building, our goal is to capture images that make people stop and appreciate the beauty of the moment...or the beauty in our subject. This particular lesson has really changed the way I look at the world. I look for the beauty in any situation...knowing that with patience and perseverance, I will find it.
Brant is a professional photographer and cinematographer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.