Video: 5 common wide-angle landscape photography mistakes and how to fix them


posted Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT


Unfortunately, capturing a great landscape image is not as simple as pointing a wide-angle lens toward a scene. If only it were so easy. While a wide-angle lens can be an important tool in any landscape photographer's kit, using a lens with a wide field of view comes with unique challenges that must be overcome. Nigel Danson just published a new video that discusses five common wide-angle landscape mistakes photographers make and how to fix them.

The first common issue people have when using a wide-angle lens is capturing a composition that doesn't feature a true subject. For example, suppose you're photographing a mountain. It's a common landscape scenario. The mountain looks relatively smaller in your photo with a wide-angle lens than it does to your eyes, so its impact is reduced. One way you can deal with this is by utilizing a foreground and changing the height of your camera to emphasize the relative size of different elements in your image. Even small changes in your camera's position can have a huge impact with a wide-angle lens. It's a bit tough to explain, but Danson has a great visual example just over three minutes into his video below.

The second mistake is not recognizing just how much of a scene is included when you use a wide-angle lens. One of the greatest strengths of a wide-angle lens is how much of a given scene you can capture in a single image. However, that can also be a weakness, depending on the location and your selected composition. When you're in the field, pay close attention to your entire composition, not just the subject, and ensure that you don't include distracting elements in your photo. Further, if something in your photo takes up a lot of space but doesn't add anything to your composition, see if there's a way to move your camera to reduce the issue. Sometimes moving only slightly to the left or right can significantly improve your photo.

Speaking of simple changes that can have a dramatic impact on your photos, just because you're shooting landscape photos doesn't mean yoeur camera needs to stay in landscape orientation. It's all too easy to leave your camera in a horizontal orientation, but don't be afraid to rotate it and see how a vertical composition will look. Yes, many scenes work well in landscape orientation, but that's just as true of landscapes in portrait orientation. Danson recommends that you consider compositions in both orientations at every location you photograph. If you find it challenging to shoot in portrait orientation with your camera, consider purchasing an L-bracket. It makes it easy to switch between landscape and portrait orientation without any fuss. Different manufacturers, like Really Right Stuff, offer custom L-brackets to fit many popular cameras.

To see the other two common mistakes people make with wide-angle lenses, be sure to watch Danson's full video above. To see more from Nigel Danson, visit his website, follow him on Instagram, and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

(Via Nigel Danson