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Adding Individuality to Your Photos with a Wide-angle Lens

A wide-angle lens allows you to capture a wide view in your photos. However, this is not the only property that characterises the wide-angle lens. You can also use it to create deformed effects that distort the shape of the subject. By utilising this effect, you will be able to enhance the individuality of your photographic works. (Reported by: Ryosuke Takahashi)

Q1: How to create deformed effects?

EOS 70D/ EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 10mm (equivalent to 16mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/1250 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

A: Take a shot at a close distance from the subject

One of the lens properties is that objects located closer will appear larger, and this property is further exaggerated when you are using a wide-angle lens. Such a deformed effect created by a wide-angle lens is a photographic technique commonly employed to emphasise the shape of the subject. The key to creating such a deformed effect is to move extremely close to the subject. You will be able to enhance the impact of your shot by producing a magnified view of what you want to feature. This example is a shot taken at a train station in Switzerland. Despite the symmetric shape of the train when seen from the front, the left side of the vehicle seems to protrude outward as a result of the deformed effect.

When taken from a distant position, the relative distance from the camera to both sides of the train is almost the same. Deformed effects cannot be created in this case.

Q2: How to emphasise width in the image?

EOS 70D/ EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 10mm (equivalent to 16mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/30 sec)/ ISO 500/ WB: Daylight

A: Position the subject in the foreground

To emphasise width in an image, it is important that you make effective use of the space in the foreground. In particular, the subject appears larger when it is positioned close to the camera, and thus it is easier to create a visual effect that stresses the wideness. This example was taken at an art gallery located in Lausanne, Switzerland. Here, a large part of the foreground is occupied by an emblem to create contrast with the background and bring out the expanse. There are many techniques to make good use of a wide-angle lens, one of which is to include something in the foreground. Creating unbalance in an image allows you to obtain a more pronounced sense of width than that of the actual angle of view.

Without the emblem in the foreground, this shot fails to create a sense of wideness. Not only so, the image lacks the scale for expressing spatial width, and is therefore unable to convey the actual expanse of the location.

Ryosuke Takahashi

Born in Aichi in 1960, Takahashi started his freelance career in 1987 after working with an advertising photo studio and a publishing house. Photographing for major magazines, he has travelled to many parts of the world from his bases in Japan and China. Takahashi is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS).

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