Lens and perspective

A basic tip, to support my class today – I taught a teen workshop at the local library. Some amazingly talented young people, who, as a bonus, learn quickly, too!

The question: when do I zoom in, and when do I walk towards my subject instead? Similarly, when do I zoom out, or when do I walk away?

Take this clock:

With a 16mm lens. Wide angle lenses make the remote objects small, and hence enhances the feeling of perspective.

Now we walk back, all the while zooming in so that clock remains the same size. We end up at around 200mm, but from a “far away” distance:

Now look at the background objects. See?

A long lens makes background objects large, and hence compresses the feeling of perspective.

So the choice of what focal length lens to use is often not dictated by the need to get closer or the need to get more in, but instead, by creative needs.

A GOOD EXERCISE: Try to shoot some images today both “zoomed in and from afar” and “zoomed out, but close”. See what the difference is, See what works: try “close-far” in both cases: which is easier?


I am off to Las Vegas tomorrow morning for a few days, so posts may be slow for a few days. Stay tuned for some new Las Vegas photos soon, though.


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