The lens of choice for portraits is usually 50mm and above. But that doesn’t mean wide angle lenses can’t be used for portrait photography. They can absolutely be used for the purpose but there are certain things to watch out for. Photographer David Bergman from Adorama explains:
Shoot Parallel to the Subject
Wide angle lenses have a tendency to exaggerate features. Anything that is close seems larger than usual, and things that are far away seem too small. So, if you shoot from a higher or a lower angle, the image will look unnatural. It’s important that you keep your camera leveled and parallel to your subject.
Place Your Subject in the Center
If you’ve worked with wide angle lenses, you know that the images have a more rounded effect at the edges. If you have your subject stand at the edges, they will be stretched and distorted. That definitely isn’t flattering. Place your subject at the center of the frame when shooting portraits with wide angle lenses.
Pay Attention to the Pose
You don’t want your subject’s features to be exaggerated. As wide angle lenses have the tendency to enlarge anything close to them, it’s best to pose your subject with their extremities closer to their bodies.
“If their hands are sticking out closer to the camera, they’ll look out of proportion to the rest of themselves.”
Keep in mind that these points are to be considered as long as you want to have a flattering image of your subject. If your goal is to get creative with your portraits using distortion and perspective, feel free to experiment and break these so-called rules.
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