What I Learned Shooting Portraits with a Wide Angle Lens

What I Learned Shooting Portraits with a Wide Angle Lens

Being a portrait & wedding photographer, I rarely find myself reaching for my wide angle lens, so recently I decided to break out of that mould albeit it was unplanned. The decrepit Vreed-en-Hoop stelling was chosen to contrast the glow of the youthful, energetic model.

Model Shot 1

Upon arrival at the location, my first lens choice was the 50mm prime which gave me minimal distortion and lovely soft bokeh. I soon realized, why drive all the way here and not incorporate the environment into the shoot…….so I grabbed my widest lens.

The following are some things I learned while using the wide angle lens for this portrait shoot.

Distortion: Distortion is a bitch! Luckily I have experience with this lens so I knew where to position the model and how far back I should stand to prevent any elongated nose, protruding jaw or enormous head. If the model got too close to the edge of the frame, the distortion kicked in and yes I know….that can be fixed in post.
Distance: I had to get close, but not too close of course. This was a matter of trial and error.
Balance: Obviously the hardest part of this shoot was deciding how much of the scene I should include without losing the model as the focal point

Model shot 2

Location: When shooting wide angle portraits, it is recommended to use locations the complements the subject because it enhances the viewer’s perception of the subject but the same can be said for a contrasting location, don’t you think?

Wide angle portraits may or may not be my cup of tea but it’s good to be able to inject some amount of creativity into portrait work. Taking a different approach to what should be a straight forward shoot is a great way to boost the creative process and makes you think just a little bit more than usual. I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot.

Model shot 3

I’m also working on my off camera flash technique, look out for a post about that.

Click here to view more photos from this shoot

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