Did you think your wide-angle lens was just for landscapes? Think again! Find out how to take wide angle portraits that will wow your friends and family.
If your wide-angle lens only comes out for landscape shots, you’re not fulfilling its potential. Try using it for portraits for fantastically distorted results – your wide lens will turn your friends into cartoon versions of themselves.
Wide angle portraits play on the natural distortion that wide lenses produce. ‘Barrel’ distortion causes otherwise straight lines to appear bulged if they don’t pass through the centre of the image.
This effect is more marked at the edges of the frame, and barely noticeable in the centre of the shot. Normally you’d avoid distortion, but by exaggerating the effect you can create a caricature-style shot.
Just choose a wide-angle lens, and find a subject who doesn’t mind being experimented on!
How to shoot wide angle portraits
01 Switch to a wide-angle lens
When it comes to distorting reality, the wider your lens the better, so a 10-20mm super-wide-angle lens is ideal. You could use an 18-55mm kit lens, but the distortion won’t be as pronounced and you’ll need to exaggerate your angles even more to get a cartoon-like look.
02 Choose an urban backdrop
Think about your surrounding environment. You won’t get a shallow depth of field with a wide-angle lens, so a distracting or busy background can take away focus from your subject if you aren’t careful. Choose a plain wall or an urban setting to keep things simple.
03 Vary your point of view
Experiment with angles for different effects, while always staying close to your subject. Placing the centre of a face in a corner of the frame will make features look disproportionately huge, while extremities like hands and feet that are further from the lens will look weirdly small.
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