Wide Angle Lens Tips/Examples (Portraits?)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by marka87uk, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. marka87uk

    marka87uk TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I just bought a wide-angle lens, and wondered if anyone can give me any tips or advice on how to use it for the best results? Any examples would be great!

    Also, I know a lens like this is not normally used for portraits but I've seen some pictures where the effect from using one is good - I'd also like to hear any advice on doing these types of shots too if possible please!

    Thanks in advance! :D
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Wide angle lenses will give you distortion, especially around the edges and especially as you get close to the subject. Wide angle lenses tend to accentuate the distance between things that are close and things that are farther away. If you get close to someone's face, it will feel like their nose is a lot closer to you while the rest of their face is farther away. A telephoto lens will tend to compress how that distance looks, which is one reason why telephoto lenses are typically favored for portrait work.

    You can use a wide angle, or any other lens for that matter. But if you don't want to make people look too weird, watch out for angles and distances that distort them too much.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Here is a shot that I took with a wide angle and also very close to the subject. There is obvious distortion but I don't think it hurts the image. That statue in the background, on the other hand...:er:
    [​IMG]

    I've got a few more from that same wedding on my BLOG. Some of them could be described as 'environmental' portrait shots because the idea was to show the scenery as much as the subjects.
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    How wide a wide-angle did you buy? It makes a big difference. I have a Sigma 10-20. The distortion is one of those things that makes it interesting and you can do some very interesting portraits with it.

    This is at 10mm:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. marka87uk

    marka87uk TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your help - very nice examples!

    I don't have a DSLR or anything (yet); the lens is a Fujifilm WL FXE01 0.76x (21mm equivalent?) for my E900. I bought it mainly for use on a trip I'm going on shortly and hoped it will improve some landscape shots, but then I saw some other uses for it and thought I'd ask for any other advice on what to do with it creatively!
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I love using wide angle lenses for portrait work.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    What lens did you use for those, VI?
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sigma 10-20.

    The real culprit is the light. Used one speed light with an umbrella for ever single one of those.
     
  9. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Like VI shows in a couple of his shots (which are outstanding), wide angle lenses coupled with a perspective that is "out of the norm" makes for very interesting and captivating shots!

    That bride shot is killer VI!

    Derrick
     
  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    There are two kinds of distortion commonly seen in wide angle shots. The lens distortion, as mentioned above, which is stronger near the edges and in the corners. Lens distortion will vary in flavor between different lenses, and can usually be manipulated with software, although sometime you'll need to leave room for the manipulation if you want the photo to remain straight sided.

    The other kind of distortion is perspective distortion: the apparent size of objects in the photo depending on where they are compared to the camera. This effect is often attributed to the lens, but it's really controlled by the distance between the subject and the camera. The wide angle lens doesn't make the subject's nose look big compared to the rest of the face; being 6 inches away from the subject's nose is what makes it look big. If you are 15 feet from the subject using a 12mm lens the perspective relationship of various parts of the scene (such as the parts of their face) remains the same as if you were 15 feet away and using an 85mm lens (assuming the subject is not composed near the edge where lens distortion would come into play).

    I bring this up because I've heard people say it's not appropriate to use wide angle lenses for portraits because it distorts the perspective of the subjects facial features. Focal length only affects magnification. Combined with format sized it effects angle of view/in-camera cropping. Perspective, assuming you're not using a view camera or tilt/shift lenses, is controlled by distance to subject whatever the focal length or format. Of course the shots posted above show how breaking the rules can still make for interesting portraits.

    [​IMG]

    17mm lens on a 35mm format camera
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But it's easier to get the perspective distortion with a wide angle lens.

    Trying to get that distortion @ 100mm with a lens that's closest focusing distance is 3' is going to be extremely hard.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Very true. But there seems to be a common misconception that focal length effects perspective. Since posting above and now I've run into 2 threads where focal length was mentioned as perspective control. I think perspective is very important when composing images, and obviously the photographer has to pay attention to distance to subject, format, and focal length as they are all involved in the creation of every photo. I just think it's important to understand what is controlling what, and really the concepts are pretty simple.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-lenses.htm
     

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