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How to Maximize Impact When Using Wide Angle Lenses

Most wide angle scenes taken by amateur photographers fail to make an impression on the audience due to lack of interesting elements in the frame. Photographing wide open spaces usually ends up in a picture with lots of small detail and no particular element to catch the viewer’s attention.

wide angle
Photo By Justin Tippins

The trick to overcoming such issues when using wide angle lenses is to look for depth rather than width. Learn to resist the temptation to take whole of the scene, instead move in close to your subject, and place an interesting element in the foreground. Make sure the foreground element takes up at least a quarter of the picture frame, you could use anything available on the scene like a piece of driftwood, rock formations, a small bush etc or add an element like a person, a clump of blooms, an animal, a vehicle etc.

Photo By Henri Liriani

The real secret to getting it right is to make sure the subject in the foreground is within the focus range. Apply principles of hyper focal distance to decide on subject placement. Also consider compositional rules like the Rule of Thirds and place your subject on one of the intersections. Never centre your foreground subject as it will result in a boring picture that looks static.
wide angle shot
Photo By Sathish J

Look for leading lines running from the distance into the foreground elements like roads, rail way tracks, small streams, lines on pavement etc and bring them into the frame on a diagonal or ‘S’ curve, rather than placing them down the middle. Try shooting vertical compositions with the camera slightly tilted forward – this will let you capture elements from the foreground to the background in focus.

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