Shooting with wide very angle lenses can often produce some unique issues that you don’t encounter with other focal lengths. In this video, Toma Bonciu takes us through his thought process in taking great landscape images using a 17-40mm lens. It’s all too easy to try to fit the entire scene in front of you into the photo, but wide-angle lenses are well, wide, and so you need to be aware of the entire scene around you.
Toma says that “understanding the process of taking photos using a wide-angle lens, like the 17-40mm or even the 16-35mm is very important for a landscape photographer. The way you identify the subject, plan the composition and settings is different from other lenses
- Explore the area thoroughly before shooting. It’s so easy to get fixated on a single view or element and you may miss other photographic opportunities. By doing this you can find leading lines and geometrical patterns that will aid your composition. Arrive at least 30 minutes before sunrise and 2 hours before sunset to give you time to explore.
- Find your subject. What’s the most important part of the scene you’re looking at? Is it the sun shining on the peak? Is it the flowers in the foreground? You need to be able to answer this question to create a meaningful and impactful image.
- Visualise the photo. Try to see the image you want to create inside your head. This gets easier with practice but try to start thinking about framing and how you can position yourself. This is something you can even do at home by using an app such as PhotoPills in the planning stage.
- Create a composition that will support the subject. You want the image to lead the eye towards the most important aspect of the photo. You can use classic composition rules like leading lines, diagonals and foreground interest to achieve this. The lightest part of the image will attract the most attention so by using light in this way you can also guide your attention to the elements you want.
- Plan your settings. You probably want everything in focus, and wide-angle lenses tend to let foreground elements dominate the frame. This is where understanding hyperfocal distance is useful. Toma says he will sometimes use f/22 when many landscape photographers shy away from that, but in some instances, it can be alright to use such a small aperture. Outside the light can change very rapidly so by planning your settings advance, particularly when using long exposures it can save you some valuable time. Photographing things such as the Northern lights can be tricky because the intensity of the light fluctuates such a lot. Shooting only long exposures can mean that you’ll miss some spectacular moments so Toma recommends increasing the ISO to compensate.
So there are 5 valuable tips for getting the most out of your wide-angle lens. Do you struggle with very wide-angle lenses?