Wide Angle Distortion

Wide Angle Distortion-created when using a wide-angle lens AND the camera is very close to the subject. The object close to the lens appears abnormally large relative to more distant objects, and distant objects appear abnormally small and hence more distant – distances are extended. 

When shooting a portrait, generally, you want to avoid wide angle distortion as it does not make your subject look good.

When shooting a portrait with a camera, it is most flattering to use a slightly telephoto focal length. For a full frame camera, 85 mm is the ideal focal length. For a crop-frame sensor (such as a Canon 60d) , it varies but around 60 mm is ideal.

When shooting with a cameraphone, you can’t change your focal length unless you have an iPhone 11 with multiple lenses. But you will see wide angle distortion in the photo if the camera is too close to the subject.

Take two photos of a model or yourself: one with wide angle distortion and one without.

If you are shooting with a camera (and a tripod), take the first one with your widest focal length (zoomed all the way out). Get as close as you can. This will distort the features of your subject. Take your second photo at 60 mm if you are shooting with a cropped-frame sensor. Try to get the framing to be about the same.

If you are shooting with a cameraphone, take the first photo with the camera very close to your subject or your own face. Take the second photo at arms length. You will need to crop the second photo in Lightroom to get the framing to be about the same.

Shot with a cameraphone: Wide Angle Distortion. The phone was very close to my face.

No Wide Angle Distortion. Shot at arm’s length and cropped.










There are times though when we want to use wide angle distortion. The exaggerated scale relationships can be used to be funny or dramatic.

Wide angle distortion make my head appear to be big while my feet appear tiny.

Here my hand is enormous as it is close to the camera while my head which is farther away from the camera is small.










Create two photos that use wide angle distortion to make a funny or surprising image.

Put the four photos in a post with the category Week 10- Wide angle Distortion with an explanation of wide angle distortion. What is it? how do you create it and how do you avoid it. When do you want to avoid it and when might you want to use it?


Technical Note

When you are shooting with an iPhone camera, you can use the ear buds that come with the phone as a shutter release. Plug the ear buds into the phone and press the volume control to take the photo.