Get More Out of Your Wide-Angle Lens

Many photographers feel that portrait lenses are only 50mm, 85mm and 135mm, which is also why the 70-200mm F/2.8 is the best selling lens in the world whether they are made by Canon, Nikon, Sigma or Tamron.

I know you will think I am crazy but you can actually get more use out of your wide-angle lens than just shooting landscapes. One of the really creative uses for your wide-angle lens is Wide-Angle Portraits! I captured this first image with my Canon EF 17-40mm F/4 L USM at Vines Botanical Gardens in Loganville, Ga.

Now before you start flaming me saying I have gone off the deep end, hear me out. Yes a wide-angle lens will make your subjects face all exaggerate because their nose might look huge and their eyes and ears small, but by shooting creatively you can make that wide-angle to create some really awesome shots.

Instead of shooting your subject head on like you would with a regular portrait lens, try shooting them from above, pointing the wide-angle lens down at them, or if you are shooting a full body portrait, shoot from their feet. Why would you shoot at their foot level??? Well because you will make them seem taller. Every wonder how Hollywood can make an actor 5 foot 6 look 6 feet tall, well they shoot them from down low with a wide-angle lens and *BAM* Tom Cruise looks like he’s 6 foot tall instead of 5 foot 7. I captured this second image with the same lens, also at Vines and got down and laid on the ground to shoot it for a unique perspective.

Another great use for your wide-angle lens as far as portraits go is the Environment Portrait as you can capture your subject and more of their surroundings. Now one thing to keep in mind when shooting with your wide-angle, get closer or you end up with them looking like an action figure instead of an action hero. In this third image the man appears to be a giant holding two other people in his hands, but in reality they are standing quite a ways behind him. (Image from

Even when using your wide-angle for landscapes, make them more interesting by shooting at ground level. If you are afraid to lay down on the ground, crouch and set the camera on the ground and shoot. It might be a little tricky to get your focus lock, but if you use Back Button Focus, it’s much easier.

Additionally, you can shoot multiple people and placing them at different distances you can make some really cool looking photos! This last image is an Environmental Portrait. (Image from

Now that I got your creative juices flowing, grab that wide-angle lens and make some awesome images!