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.