How to use a wide-angle lens for photography?

The wide-angle is probably one of the most attractive lens types a photographer can buy. When used properly, the incredibly wide-angle produces a huge depth of field that grabs the viewer’s attention even more than usual. I don’t just mean landscapes, we’re more used to seeing wide-angle shots in action. In fact, wide-angle lenses work for all types of photography, without exception.

However, this is not all fun and games: sometimes it is difficult to fill all the compositions in the picture. If you don’t, your photos will feel “empty”. With this lens, objects close to the lens feel larger, while objects farther away from the lens are almost invisible.

At the same time, when shooting indoors and outdoors, if you have the sun or other strong light sources in your lens, you must also deal with annoying lens spots. In addition, many wide-angle lenses have an aspheric front-end element, so if you want to use a filter, you must use a special kit. Trust me, it’s not easy to master how a wide-angle lens works. It takes some time and practice to improve the skills of operating wide-angle lenses. This article will tell you how to use a wide-angle lens for photography?

Sand shell

1. What is the role of a wide-angle lens?

Wide-angle lenses capture more in a single photo than standard and telephoto lenses; This is probably the simplest explanation you can find for them.

Now, to talk more deeply, wide-angle lenses also have the ability to distort things in two different ways.

The first distortion makes objects closer to the lens appear much larger than they really are, and objects farther away appear much smaller than they really are. So when you photograph a majestic mountain from a distance, even though it may seem large to you, it may only make up a small part of the picture. The advantage of this is that you can accentuate even the smallest and most irrelevant objects by placing them close enough to the lens.

The second type of distortion is called barrel distortion. To avoid this distortion (and make your tree straight), you should make sure the horizon line is in the middle of the frame. Otherwise, you can try to correct the distortion later in post-processing.

2. Common mistakes with wide-angle lenses

A wide-angle lens will give you more artistic possibilities because it has a unique perspective and has the opportunity to include so many objects in your frame. It can also be a headache because if you don’t pay attention to a few things while shooting, it’s easy to end up with a dull image. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes to avoid when using a wide-angle lens!


(1) Leave part of the frame blank

When using a wide-angle lens, the most reasonable thing you can do is make sure you don’t leave most of the composition visually blank.

Sometimes a wide-angle lens is useful, and sometimes it ruins your composition. Before shooting in wide focus, make sure you can fill the entire frame!

(2) Keep important topics on the margins

One of the main characteristics of wide-angle lenses is the obvious barrel distortion. The closer you get to the edge of the picture, the more obvious this distortion becomes. Most of the time, it comes with some loss of quality.

In this case, distortion can help direct the viewer’s eyes into the image, so it doesn’t really hurt. However, the loss of quality is huge, making the lens almost useless.

3. How to use a wide-angle lens for photography?

Now that we’ve examined the most common mistakes people make when using wide-angle lenses, it’s time to learn what techniques you can use to make your wide-angle photos stand out from the rest!

The scenery on the beach

(1) Use all layers of the scene

When using a wide-angle, you should learn to think in terms of layers. No, I’m not talking about the Photoshop ones; I’m talking about the ones that are present pretty much everywhere. You just need to visualize how to correctly place them into your composition.

(2) Use distortion in your favor

Sometimes distortion can give an image a greater depth of field, or it can enhance lines or textures that would otherwise be lost within a frame. To enhance the lines, try to get really close to them and place them at the edge of the composition.

(3) Create stunning photos using bokeh effects

As a landscape photographer, I’m not used to opening my apartment very often. However, in some other types of photography, the use of large apertures and wide angles can produce some incredibly artistic and original effects!

Consider pet photography. When you shoot animals up close and make their beautiful eyes stand out even when the background is blurry.

Consider street photography. You may not have enough room to shoot your subject with a telephoto lens, so you decide to take a wider view.

If the background isn’t interesting, you can try using a larger aperture, such as F/2.8 or F/4, to separate the main subject from the context.

4. Conclusion

Wide-angle lenses are tricky to tame; They’re not the kind of shots you just go out and point at and shoot. These shots require more attention in terms of composition and the position of the subject in the frame. But don’t despair. If you take the precautions I mentioned above, you will be able to take some beautiful photos with depth of field that other types of lenses cannot.

I hope this article gives you an idea of what to avoid and what to look for when your camera has a wide-angle lens!

sand beach


How do you take good pictures with a wide-angle lens?

Wide-angle lenses distort the most in the corners, so someone in the corner of a photo becomes noticeably distorted. This is particularly true with shorter focal lengths (15mm can distort more than 30mm). In general, always keep people near the center of your frame when shooting wide-angle.

What would you use a wide-angle lens for?

Simply put, a wide-angle lens is one that has a wider angle of view than a normal lens. Wide-angle lenses are ideal for photographing expansive landscapes, cramped interiors, and subjects that wouldn’t fit into the field of view of a normal lens, such as a large building shot at relatively close range.

Can you use a wide-angle lens for portraits?

Wide-angle lenses have a broader field of view than standard lenses, such as an 85mm lens. With wide lenses, like 20mm or 24mm, you can capture more of the scene in front of you. Creating portraits using wide-angle lenses can enhance perspective, but also distort proportions.

Do I need a wide-angle lens for landscape photography?

Wide-angle lenses are ideal for landscape photography. They have more depth of field at any given aperture setting and camera to subject distance than telephotos. It is simple to stop down and obtain front-to-back sharpness.

Do wide-angle lenses make you look fat?

Wide-angle lenses, which have a short focal length, do just the opposite, making a person in the center of the picture appear both wider and taller. At the extreme, these lenses can also make people at the outside edges of a group photo look fatter. Because the image isn’t flipped.

Share this post