5 Fun Things You Can Do With Your Wide Angle Lens

When most people think of a wide angle lens, they imagine being able to “fit more into an image.” But while it’s true that a wide angle will indeed give your images a wider perspective, there are a number of other – even more impressive things that you can do with a wide angle lens.

A wide angle lens will emphasize the sense of distance in a composition – both width, and depth. They can accentuate the distance between the foreground and background elements, causing the objects in a scene to appear farther apart – enhancing the sense of space in a photo.

In addition to spectacular landscapes, the image distortion that these lenses cause can result in some humorous captures, and can add a fun twist to your photos.

If you’re considering a wide angle lens – or looking for some new ways to use your lens, here are five fun things that you can do with a wide angle.

  1. Add Depth to Your Images

    Tot conflueix Alls conected
    Photo by SBA73

    First and foremost, one of the most amazing things that you can do with a wide angle lens, is use it to create images that have more depth. A wide angle will often cause the background elements to look smaller, and the foreground elements to appear larger. One of the best ways to take advantage of this is to make sure you include some prominent foreground in your landscape images.

    The result will be a photo that enhances the sense of distance between the foreground and the background, so for example, instead of the mountain in the distance being the main focal point, an element in the foreground will be. When using your lens for architecture, this increased sense of depth will result in converging lines, and structures that appear to lean in towards the center. Wide angles also have a wide depth of field, which means that you’ll be able to capture photos that are in focus from the foreground all the way on into the distance.

  2. Use a Long Exposure

    Payette River Long Exposure
    Photo by Charles Knowles

    A wide angle lens and a long exposure go hand in hand. You’ve undoubtedly seen some of these spectacular images before – seascapes or rivers that are gently blurred, giving the photo a beautiful, ethereal appearance. One of the best ways to capture images like these is to use a wide angle lens, a tripod, and a long exposure. For spectacular long exposure landscape photography, you’ll want to find a picturesque setting – ideally one that features a river, the ocean, or another large body of water, and clouds. Using a tripod and slowing your shutter speed down will result in misty, gently blurred water and soft, streaky clouds – a potentially striking photograph.

    Using a wide angle will allow help to accentuate the foreground in the image, providing an excellent focal point to draw your eye into the photo. Finally, make sure you bring along an ND or polarizer filter. This will come in handy during bright lighting conditions, allowing you to leave the shutter open for longer, without flooding the sensor with light – this will enable you to get some great long-exposure shots even during the day, or at sunset.

  3. Embrace the Distortion

    Cow through Samyang 8mm Fisheye
    Photo by Paul Stevenson

    A wide angle lens can result in a great deal of image distortion – especially if you’re using a fisheye lens! But while your wide angle isn’t ideal for flattering portraits, it can be used to create some great images nonetheless. Getting up close to animals with a wide angle lens will cause the animals’ heads to appear larger – sometimes even bigger than their bodies!

    This can make for some fun images. For portraits, it’s the same story – a wide angle lens will cause your subjects to look a bit comical. This can be used to convey a sense of fun to your images – but try to keep your subjects close to the center of your viewfinder, where there’s the least amount of image distortion.

  4. Capture Spectacular Nighttime Images

    Star Trails
    Photo by Marjan Lazarevski

    A wide angle lens can help you to capture some amazing nighttime photos – especially star trails. Again, use a tripod and a long exposure to capture some wide angle nighttime shots. If you capture a clear night sky with an exposure of 15 minutes or longer, you’ll be able to see the rotation of the earth – the result will be some incredible star trails that appear to streak across the sky.

    For best results, make sure you photograph the stars in an isolated location that’s far away from the lights of the city.

  5. Turn It Vertical

    Vertical Architecture

    Wide angle photography is usually shot in landscape mode – but turning your camera vertical can open up a world of new possibilities. This is especially the case if you’re photographing landscapes – or cityscapes. This is a great way to include more of the foreground into your composition – or, more of the sky. The wide depth of field that wide angles have means that most – if not all of your image will be clear and in-focus. The next time you’re out with your wide angle, try rotating it vertically – the results might surprise you.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can use your wide angle lens. Remember, while a new lens won’t instantly make you a “better photographer,” it can be an excellent tool that you can use to your advantage. It’ll take some practice, but with a bit of work and lots of experimentation, you’ll soon be well on your way to capturing some truly amazing images with your wide angle.

Do you have a wide angle lens? What’s your favorite type of wide angle photography?

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