Wide angle photography is the bread and butter of the landscape photographer – if you don’t own a wide angle lens you’re missing out!
As usual we’ll take a look at a few photographs that successfully demonstrate how to photograph using a wide angle lens and then we’ll move onto some more specific tips focused on improving your wide angle photography.
Examples of wide angle photography
Wide angle lenses, as I mentioned, are often the go to lens of the landscape photographer. They allow you to showcase a scene in a way that the human eye just isn’t able to do. In this photograph of Excelsior Glen Falls by Shobeir Ansari you’ll see exactly how a wide angle lens can create a perspective that simply takes you into the scene.
By having a strong foreground of fallen leaves and the leading lines of the river and the cavern walls this photograph goes from interesting to more interesting as you are brought through the photograph. By taking the shot from a low angle you as the viewer are placed within the perfect location of the scene to draw you into it and allow you to get lost.
Of course wide angle photography is not just for landscapes so our next examples takes us to the urban photography world with this photograph of the Boston skyline by photographer Daniel Parks.
What makes this image such a strong wide angle photograph was the choice of the photographer to include the chain link railing in the foreground. By including this strong foreground piece the image becomes a more complete photograph and one that takes you from the foreground towards the city lights.
The third and final example today is from Sharada Prasad CS and is a great example of how you can use wide angle photography to showcase things and objects within your frame.
This photograph has everything you’d want in a wide angle photograph – great depth throughout the frame from the prominent foreground subjects to the middle ground of the open water, to the background of the mountain range. It even incorporates one of our previous themes of using repeating patterns in photography to add emphasis or drama.
Key elements of wide angle photography
When you’re using a wide angle lens there are a few key elements that you’ll want to keep in mind as you compose your photographs. These three tips are probably the most important guidelines to follow if you’re looking to really set up a dramatic wide angle photograph.
- Depth – Wide angle lenses have a very large depth of field, even at their largest openings, and as a result it becomes important that whatever you photograph with a wide angle lens has depth. Try to find subjects with strong foreground, mid ground and background elements that support one another within the frame of the image.
- Perspective – Wide angle lenses offer a view that is very different than what we see every day. As a result of this wider angle of view the perspective of the photograph is extremely important and will help you tell your story.
- Get closer – One of the most common mistakes people make when photographing with a wide angle lens is that they fail to get close enough to their subject. As mentioned above, both the depth of the photograph and the perpsective of the subject are important and by getting closer you’re able to increase your depth of the scene and change the perspective.
A bonus tip – check the edges!
Wide angle lenses often have such a wide angle of view that when you’re looking through the viewfinder of your camera the edges of the frame escape your attention. Don’t let this happen as little pieces of litter, or random tree branches, feet from bystanders, or any number other distractions can creep into the side of your image ruining an otherwise perfect photograph. So make sure to check the edges!
Share your own wide angle photograph
As always, head on over to the forum, and share your own wide angle photograph. Be sure to tell us a bit about how you framed the shot and what your intentions where as this helps us know where you’re coming from and believe it or not, explaining a photograph in this manner will help you learn more about your own intentions as a photographer.