Photographers – Lens Focal Length Matters

The two images below illustrate a very important lesson in regards to lens focal length.  The top image clearly makes the bride and groom look like they’re giants compared to the bridal party.  The bottom image makes them look far more proportional.  Camera distance didn’t change here.  The focal length changed.  According to the exif data, the first image was at 26 mm and you clearly see that reality is a bit distorted.  the bottom image’s exif shows that it was shot at 74m.

What you are seeing in the bottom image is called compression.  The lens has “compressed” the view and you see a much more pleasing result.  And actually is much closer to reality than the top image.

Some say “zoom with your feet”

When I first was studying photography, I heard the advice of “zoom with your feet” as a solution to a shorter lens.  However, zooming with your feet will not solve lens distortion or make a short lens compress the scene when like you can see below.  So the ever popular 35 mm lens that many photographers are jumping on the bandwagon to use for portraits, may simply not be the most flattering choice for portraits.  What’s closest to the camera will seem larger…imagine a face for a moment…you get my point.  If you can’t imagine it, here is a helpful gif to illustrate it.

Gif source:  https://i.imgur.com/XBIOEvZ.gif?noredirect

Is it any wonder why some of us just can’t tolerate selfies?

More examples to follow but go ahead and do some testing of your own.  Now that you have been exposed to the thought of distortion and compression, my bet is that you’ll become much more aware.

 

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