Get in close when shooting wide

Wide angle lenses are great for capture wide sweeping vistas, but often when used with people in the frame… the person gets squished down and almost becomes a secondary part of the image. Or even when shooting a landscape the foreground is overlooked while trying to capture the middle ground and background. Don’t forget that a lot of times the viewer’s eye loves something in the front area to act as a starting point to help the visual story begin, and this works really well when you get really close to a subject with a wide angle lens.

If we were to compare it to music, it would be like having a great melody or harmony line running through the song, but to really grab the listener, you want a great hook or bridge. (I am not a musician, so if I just murdered that analogy… I apologize to you all.) The point is, put something close up and the wide angle will pay off even more.

sam wide

Here I wanted to show my son along with the water, plants, trees and clouds. the problem is Sam gets lost and is only a bit player in this story.

sam 2

Even when I crop in, there is just not a lot of drama or zing to the image


Because I was nearly kicked in the camera by my son’s foot I know I was close and the impact and the drama of the shot is increased. I still get the water, plants, trees and clouds, but they are just parts of the drama and the boys are the heroes.

So just remember when using a wide angle… our tendency is to stay back and try to get everything in frame, when sometimes the best thing you can do is get in close to add to the drama.



  1. Dennis Zito 6 August, 2015 at 05:42 Reply

    Hi Pete,

    Boy your topic today is great! I wish I had thought of this a few days ago. I was out with my new Sigma 10-20mm lens and taking some photo of our communities fountain and waterfalls. They turned out okay, but like you mentioned the waterfall and fountain were lost in wideness of the lens. A teachable moment!!



  2. Florian 5 August, 2015 at 09:14 Reply

    Pete, Nice tip. I’ll just have to take my wide angle out of the camera bag more often than just getting a wide landscape shot. Maybe a walk around town with it on the camera this weekend to experiment.


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