Do you ever struggle to know what gear to pack for a shoot? If you’re like me, you probably over-pack ‘just in case,’ and then in the end, you just use one or two lenses for the whole session.
If you can understand better what you can achieve with each lens, you might be able to plan ahead better and then pack accordingly. In this video from Adorama, Gavin Hoey takes us on a fascinating exploration of how varying focal lengths can transform a single location shoot into two distinct photography sessions.
Wide Angle Lens: The Storyteller’s Perspective
Gavin starts the shoot with a wide-angle lens. He uses a micro four-thirds camera with a 12-millimetre lens, equivalent to a 24-millimetre lens on a full-frame camera. Wide-angle lenses are great for their ability to capture extensive scenes, making them excellent storytellers.
While wide-angle lenses offer vast perspectives, they come with a unique challenge—distortion. As Gavin demonstrates, when moving closer to the subject, distortion becomes more prominent. However, Gavin emphasizes that this is not a flaw but rather an artistic choice. Photographers can either embrace the distortion creatively or take a step back to maintain proportions.
To enhance the lighting, Gavin uses a flash with a softbox. By placing the light closer to the subject, he achieves a more balanced ambient light and flash combination, creating captivating images.
Telephoto Lens: Capturing Details
Swapping to a telephoto lens, Gavin shows its unique qualities. He uses a 75-millimetre lens, equivalent to a 150-millimetre lens in full-frame format. Telephoto lenses offer tighter framing and a shallower depth of field, making them ideal for capturing intimate details.
As Gavin illustrates, the telephoto lens minimizes the importance of the background, shifting the focus to the subject’s expression, styling, and props. The compression effect of a telephoto lens enhances certain elements, such as an S-curve in the road, creating stunning visual impact.
Clearly, both a wide and telephoto lens can greatly enhance different aspects of a photoshoot. The two aren’t really interchangeable and emphasise different features. By using these two contrasting lenses, you can vary the type of images you take without changing sets or locations.
In the end, I’d try to take a wide, medium and telephoto lens on a typical shoot. Alternatively, you could simplify things and bring a zoom lens, although I personally find that I get lazy when I’m not shooting with primes.
Do you try to shoot with both wide-angle and telephoto lenses in the same shoot?