Using wide lenses to add drama

I used to think that getting in tight on a subject may make a more interesting photo and, that may be the case. However, over the years I have noticed that the wide lenses add more drama and so I have been adding wider and wider lenses to my stock over time. This photo is of a simple porch. However, the 10mm lens used here provides interesting converging lines and a dramatic sky, making a less than ordinary subject interesting. This was done with a Sigma 10-20mm 3.5 lens on my Nikon D7100 (3 shot HDR, processed in Photomatix and Lightroom).

Also see: Improving your photos during the Golden Hour

2 thoughts on “Using wide lenses to add drama

  1. That’s an interesting observation and one I’ve consistently held to be true in my own photography experience. When I’ve been asked about a particularly dramatic sunrise or sunset image I’ve created, I try and explain that the extra wide or super wide angle compresses all the space we turn our heads to see into a single rectangular view directly in front, and thus compresses the drama making it seem much more dramatic. On the other hand, it seems to me that what I gain in drama is somewhat at the cost of the sense of space and depth, so it’s more work in editing to make sure the lines and background can give some proportion or depth and it’s a little more difficult. The telephoto landscape perspective can make it easier to add that sense of scale and space but as you say, the drama is somewhat reduced and has to be looked at in editing.

    The ironic thing is that I would logically think it would be the opposite. A very wide angle exaggerates things close and diminishes things far away, whereas a telephoto compresses space and makes distant things much closer, and yet, in actual experience, I agree with you that the opposite is what happens. I think it has a lot to do with how our brains interpret space conveyed in a flat plane photograph, but I’m not sure I could articulate the principles as well as someone trained in classical artistic perspective or architecture.


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