This week's theme is "wide angle" which allows the camera to capture a large amount of the overall scene. One factor to keep in mind - is what is a wide angle on a full frame camera vs a crop sensor camera? Any lens with a focal length of 35mm or wider on a full frame camera is considered to be a wide angle lens. If it is 24mm and wider, it is considered an ultra-wide angle (speaking full frame again). For a crop sensor camera, this changes a little bit. The angle of view is 65 degrees (28mm on a full frame camera), but the lens mm is dependent on the digital multiplier factor. For Nikon/Sony/Pentax cameras, this is 1.5x, for Canon cameras, this is 1.6x. A 35mm lens will give 23.3 on a Nikon camera (which is what I shoot).
I often shoot pets close to the wide angle if I am working by myself and need to be able to handle the dog as well as the camera - but if not, then I will use a longer focal length to allow for blurring out the background.
In general, using a wide-angle lens for any type of photography requires some consideration to what your subject is - it must have depth and you need to get real close to the foreground object in your frame. Sometimes, real close, like on top of it. One of my favorite (non-pet) wide angle photographs is this one taken at Cypress Point park.
This photograph was taken with a Nikon D7100, 22mm, f/16, 1/60 sec, ISO 200. I found this scene very interesting and put the camera up to my eye and kept walking slowly until this foreground rock was right at the bottom of the frame. How close was it? I was just inches away from it - literally on top of it by the time I got this photograph composed. There are several factors that come into play to have a well composed wide-angle photograph.
1) Have a clear, dominant subject in the image, particularly in the foreground
2) Get as close as possible to your subject
3) Use leading lines in your composition to draw the viewer into your photograph
Keeping all these factors in mind, how does this apply to pet photography? One thing to consider is the longer noses on some dogs will look very distorted if it's to close to a wide angle lens. But, if you have the dog turn their head a little bit and then take the photograph, some of that distortion goes away. Jasper, a rescue dog (now adopted), is actually not a large dog (about 30-35 pounds), but with him up high, using a wider angle (24mm on APS-C) he looks much larger than the trees behind him.
This photograph of Ollie was taken with a full frame camera, 38mm - just shy of being considered a 'wide angle' photograph. It's sometimes harder for me to get that close to the dog to fill the frame if using a wide angle. Ollie is a smaller dog weighing in at about 21 pounds but her face is very dominant in the photograph because the camera is so close to her.
For more 'wide angle' pet photographs head over to visit Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA and NH and then head around the rest of the blog circle.
If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call/text at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).