Generally speaking, different lenses have different purposes. For example, a 50mm or an 85mm are often used for portraits, while wider lenses like 24mm are best for landscapes, architecture and interiors. However, there are times when you can (and should) break the unwritten rules and rethink the purpose of your lenses. Guys from Mango Street give you some examples and ideas how to do it.
Wide lenses for portraits
Telephoto lenses generally work best for portraits, as they are flattering for the subject and separate it nicely from the background. But with wider lenses, you can get some interesting effects.
For example, with a 35mm, you need to get closer to the subject to fill the whole frame. This creates a more intimate mood and draws the viewer closer to the subject of your image, and it still doesn’t create too much of the distortion.
The 24mm and other wide lenses can create an unusual look, as they distort the subject a bit, and include more of the environment into the shot.
Here are some examples from Mango Street, where the portraits were taken with a 35mm and a 24mm lens:
Telephoto lenses for group shots
Most of the times, group shots are taken with wide lenses. But you can rethink this approach and use a longer lens instead. This will make your subjects separated from the background, creating more dynamic shots. But of course – you will need plenty of space to move back, so everyone can fit into the scene.
The idea behind Brenizer method is to use a long lens to create a photo that covers wide angle. To do this, you need to take a few photos of your subject and their surroundings. After editing the images, you need to stitch them together in Photoshop (go to File > Automate > Photomerge). By doing this, you will end up with a large “wide angle” photo, but with a shallow depth of field of a long lens.
Personally, I use these methods from time to time, but I think I should do it more often. Although they’re against “the rules,” these experiments can turn out to be great. What about you? Do you experiment with lenses and their purposes?
[Rethink Your Camera Lenses | Mango Street]