Tips and Tricks for Using a Wide Angle Lens

The Wide Angle lens is usually one of the most dreamed of lenses, not only for its surprising results and its possibilities, but also because it tends to escape the budget of mere mortals. And since for many of us the easy and affordable is boring or less desirable, it often becomes ipso facto on our photographic wish list once we have delved a little into the subject of photography.

We have talked about the Wide Angle always associated with landscapes, because it is perhaps one of its best known and recognized facets, but the truth is that a Wide Angle lens can adapt to numerous situations and give you truly incredible images. Of course, for this, you first have to know it a little to squeeze its possibilities, which are not few 😉

What is a Wide Angle lens?

They are those that provide a very wide viewing angle. In general, Wide Angle lenses are considered those whose focal length is between 18mm and 35mm.

Within the Wide Angle lenses we have those considered “normal” and those considered “Super Wide Angles”.

Standard Wide Angle: They usually include the focal lengths between 28 and 35mm and with a viewing angle that varies from 60° to 65°. They are part of many of the Zooms that come in Kit, so these focal lengths will not be completely unknown to you, unless you are a lover of fixed lenses and do not have them 😉

Super Wide Angle: They include focal lengths between 17 and 28mm and a viewing angle of more than 80°. Due to their wide viewing angle, they are the most used in landscape photography.

Main Characteristics of Wide Angle lenses

  • Distortion: One of its main characteristics is the distortion it causes in the lines, especially those closest to the borders of the image, where they seem to narrow. Also, planes closer to the target will be more affected by this distortion than those further away.
  • depth of field: Another of the characteristics of Wide Angle lenses is their high depth of field that allows us to have most of the planes in the image in focus.
  • Greater viewing angle: Large viewing angles allow us to include more elements in the scene.
  • Distance between planes: The Wide Angle accentuates the exaggeration of the distance between the different shots; Things seem to be much further apart from each other than they really are.

9 tips for working with Wide Angles

1) Get closer and work several planes

This is perhaps the most important tip to keep in mind when using a Wide Angle. At such wide viewing angles, it is difficult focus interestand easy to fall into boring images, perhaps with a lot of information, but without a remarkable story, or a clear center or message.

The wide angle allows us to use different planes in the same scene, a very interesting effect to highlight our protagonist, and at the same time put it in context. Of course, to have a foreground, it is necessary and advisable to get closer than usual, because the focal length does not bring things closer, if not quite the opposite; drives them away As you can see, it is not a target for cowards 😉

For all these reasons, it is not only an objective of landscapes, but also a journalistic objective, of streetphotographyDocumentary or artistic photography among other styles.

2) Work on the composition

It is especially important that you take care of the composition when you work with Wide Angle lenses since the success of the image depends to a great extent on its interest. And this, beyond the theme, is achieved through the prominence of a good composition that enhances the center of interest.

3) Work the lines

Lines are a very interesting compositional element in photography, but even more so in Wide Angle photography, since in this case, their power is accentuated. The inclusion of lines in the compositions with this type of objective, accentuate the leaks and the converging lines, direct the gazeand give the image a lot of visual power and dynamism.

Take into account this effect of distortion of the vertical lines whenever you photograph with a Wide Angle, sometimes you may be interested in enhancing them, and sometimes not, forcing you to change the composition, work on post-processing, etc.

4) Work on sharpness

They are not only known as the best landscape optics for their wide angle. They are also for their great depth of field. Combining this type of objective with the Sweet spot and the Hyperfocal, you will achieve unmatched sharpness and depth of field.

5) Control all the elements of the image

Everything that is wonderful about a Wide Angle because of its wide field of vision, is also dangerous if you do not control what you want to appear in the frame, or you simply do not take it into account. Before shooting, make sure that all the elements that appear in your image are those that you want to appear, and what does not interest you, try to remove it from your frame.

6) Amplitude

It is not by chance that many interior photographs are taken with a Wide Angle. This type of lens accentuates the feeling of space and spaciousness, so it can be very useful when you want to photograph interiors. In addition, they are usually bright lenses, so you can work with them at relatively low ISO and at a good speed (always depending, of course, on the amount of light available in the interior you want to photograph).

7) Be careful with filters

Due to the angle of the lens, its use with filters tends to produce unwanted effects on the image, especially on the edges of the image, of which the most common is vignetting. You must be especially careful with the filters. polarizerssince they generate very unrealistic and heterogeneous shades of blue in the image.

8) Original portraits

It will not be a formal or classic portrait that you take with a Wide Angle, but you can make original and creative portraits thanks to the distortion created by the lens. Shapes closest to the target will appear exaggeratedly large and those further away will appear exaggeratedly small and far away.

9) When to use a Wide Angle

We have already made some progress throughout the article, but we are going to see some of the most common applications related to these objectives.

It is neither an easy goal to achieve, nor easy to use, but if you put some effort into it, practice with it, and apply any of the above tips, it will surely become one of your essentials 😉

Mario’s recommendation: The Tokina 11-16mm is a very good Wide Angle option at a price that is really hard to beat. In Amazon you have it for NikonSony and Canon.

And as always, if you liked it, you found it useful, and you think someone else might find it useful, please share it on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Thank you very much 🙂