Wide-Angle?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by AutumnMoon, May 10, 2007.

  1. AutumnMoon

    AutumnMoon TPF Noob!

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    I have some questions about the use of a wide-angle lens. I am not new to photography, I know the basics but I haven't experimented with anything other than a basic lens. I have read a bit about wide-angle lenses and it seems that they are suggested for use in portraits. I have always used my regular lens for portraits but I find I have a very small space to work with so I can't get as much of my subject in the picture as I would like. Is a wide-angle lens a good solution to my problem? Will it distort the image? If it does, is there a way around this? I appreciate any help and I apologize in advance if I've placed this question in the wrong spot.
     
  2. Olympus8MP

    Olympus8MP TPF Noob!

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    Actually, if I'm not mistaken, most people would use a telephoto for portraits. But if you are in need of more space, a normal lens (50mm) would probably be best. Wide-angle lenses give a larger sense of depth to the image. I'm no expert in portraiture, however, so take this advice as such.
     
  3. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    Wide angle lenses can be used to achieve certain effects when in portraits. As standard lenses for portraits, they are not. First, because of precisely those effects (which can be as far as deforming the natural shape of a face, and not necessarily you need to go to a fish-eye for that). Second, because you will have to get so close to the people that they will probably be really uncomfortable.
    As suggested, short teles (around 70-100mm, I would say) are the usual lenses for portraits. The also suggested 50mm can be nice, as well. But if you can't managed with that, I would suggest trying other locations for shooting portraits, other than wide lenses. Somewhere when you can get a little further away
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For an example of what a wide angle lens does in portraiture, there's a great picture in the "Portrait and Wedding Photography" forum, the thread is called Style and Money if I am not mistaken.

    A wide angle lens will bulge out the objects closer to the lens. It can be unflattering if used incorrectly, or extremely dramatic if done properly. For general portraiture I would be more inclined to find something that covers the 35-100mm range. Except for the lack of true wide angles it should cover about any portrait shot you will need.
     
  5. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    I personally use between between 18mm and 50mm lenses for portrait work.
    As you menitoned, my work space is very small and for me to get full body shots and seperation from the background, 50mm or higher just won't cut it for me.
    I'd agree, when I have more space I won't wish to use lower than a prime 50 or something.
     
  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Perspective is controlled by camera to subject distance, not focal length. The focal length determines the angle of view. If you are too close to your subject you could get unflattering perspective with any lens.

    In a nutshell wide angles are often used for full figure portraits. In such a situation you aren't normally close enough to cause unflattering perspective and the wide angle lens will allow you to fit the entire subject in the frame. If you were to compose a full figure portrait with a wide angle and then switch to a long telephoto without moving your camera or your subject, you would still have exactly the same perspective. You would simply see less of the subject. In effect you would crop it. The reverse is also true. If you compose a head shot with a telephoto and then switch to a wide angle without changing camera to subject distance, the perspective would be the same. You would just see more of the subject and surroundings.

    Don't blame unflattering perspective on lenses. Blame photographers for that.
     
  7. Normann Photo

    Normann Photo TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't go nuts with a wide angel lens for portraits, As a guide, an 80mm lens is the ideal for portraits. I also have a tight studio and drop down to a 50mm f1.4 prime for most of my head and children shooting. If I need to capture a full body shot with an adult I will go with a 28mm-70mm zoom however I still put my back against the wall when shooting with this lens to give me the most subject distance. When shooting wide angle you will also want to keep your camera as level as possible. This will help with distortion some unless you want their head to be twice the size of their body (which can be a fun shot for a kid.) My lens buying advice is you get what you pay for. Keep yourself covered with a good range of zooms and pick up at least a 50 prime.
     

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