“I really need an ultra-wide-angle lens because it will enable me to get more into the frame” – that’s what I had in mind when I bought my new Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens. Little did I know.
Purchasing an ultra-wide-angle-lens
It wasn’t a hasty purchase. I swear it wasn’t I thought I had made up my mind thoroughly, and that I had thought through every relevant aspect. I love to create square format photographs, and in situations when you can’t move further back and also can’t turn the camera into a portrait orientation, you need to zoom out more than I could with my 24-70mm lens. So I need this ultra-wide-angle-lens. That how I thought about it. The excitement was big when I got the lens home and unpacked it. I couldn’t wait to attach it to my camera and go shooting. However, the first shots turned out underwhelming. Sure, the image quality was indeed excellent, even in the corners of the image, just like every review I had seen had promised. But somehow, most of the shots I got didn’t work as well as I had hoped they would. I kept trying and got even more mediocre results with some happy accidents in between. What was wrong?
Three wide-angle rules
It wasn’t until I found an enlightening video from Adorama on YouTube. Mark Wallace explained three rules for using a wide-angle lens. The problem with wide-angle lenses, he said, is what is at the same time one of its strongest features: That you get everything into the frame. Nothing really stands out anymore. To avoid this, he suggests three things:
- Have a genuinely dominant subject in your photo.
- Get closer to the subject.
- Use leading lines.
Taken with these three tips in mind, my next wide-angle images turned out to be dramatically better. I still made mistakes, but the number of keepers I got from each shoot was much larger. And shooting with the lens was also more enjoyable because now I had these three parameters that I could use creatively in the field. What a fun way of learning!
Here are the video and some pictures
If you want to check out Mark’s video, well, here it is. And after that, you might want to come back and check out my first steps in wide-angle photography below – the first of many!