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How the Lens Affects Composition

Lesson 47 from: Photography 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

How the Lens Affects Composition

Lesson 47 from: Photography 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

47. How the Lens Affects Composition


Class Trailer



The Camera is Simply a Tool


How Does a Camera Work?


How to Adjust Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO


Exposure Triangle


What is a Stop of Light


Reading Exposure Via the Histogram


Blown Highlights or Clipped Details


White Balance & Color Temperature


No Such Thing as the Correct Exposure


How To Measure or Meter Light


8 Key Points to Understanding ISO and Image Quality


Understanding the 3 Primary Metering Methods


How to Get Perfect Exposures in One Shot


Equivalent Exposure but Different Images


Compensating for Light and Dark Scenes


Starting with Automated Modes


Auto Mode and Flash-Off Mode


Portrait Mode on a Fashion Shoot


Landscape Mode on the Beach


Sports or Action Mode


Macro Mode with Food Photography


Creative Effects Mode - Floral Photography


In-Camera Processing


A Glimpse into RAW Processing


15 Tips When You’re Having Trouble Focusing


3 Primary Types of Autofocus


Single Shot with Portrait Session


Single Shot with Action Shots


AI Servo with Action Shots


Focus Recomposing vs. AF Point Selection


Shutter Speed and the Reciprocal Rule


How to Hold a Camera and Panning Tutorial


What Makes a Great Photograph?


How to Capture Candid Moments


How to Find the Right Light Direction


5 Basic Compositional Theories


The Power of Cropping


Color Schemes


Diving into the Narrative


If It’s Not Working With, It’s Probably Working Against


More About Your Camera and Lenses


Understanding Megapixels


Crop vs. Full Frame Cameras


Crop vs. Full Frame Cameras Demonstration


Prime vs. Zoom Lens


How the Lens Affects Composition


Dynamic Range and RAW vs. JPEG


5 Tips on Memory Cards


10 Tips on Buying Gear




The Good Karma Jar


Posing and Action Shots with Female Model


Posing and Lighting with Female Model


Posing and Lighting Couples Portraits


Lesson Info

How the Lens Affects Composition

And this video we're going to take a few minutes to talk about how the lens affects composition now did you know michelle that they're actually fat and skinny linds I have heard this rumor it's true why do people think that? Why do people think that there are fat and skinny like it's all about tv, right? They say that on tv you get an extra five or ten pounds five or ten pounds automatically I look fifty pounds skinnier than I do right now I really like zero. I pride myself on that. Okay, so why? Why is it that people give that perception of certain lenses really it's about perspective? Yes, yes and the field of view of your lens. Exactly. And you mentioned one thing their perspective, which is huge because there's actually two types of distortion that I wanted to talk about one is lens distortion and one is perspective, distortion and often times these two things are actually confused with one another. Now perspective distortion has to do with how close you are to your subject and you...

'll notice that really with anything in our field of vision, the closer it gets to our faces, the larger it appears right in relation to whatever's behind it so in reality my hand is not bigger than this entire house, but at this distance it does appear to be so if we are close to our subjects, then you're making subjects basically appear larger than they actually are. This is perspective distortion the further away that we get, the smaller they appear in relation to everything around them and the closer we get, the larger they are. But what about lens distortion? Well, let's assertion has its own thing really a field of view of sixteen, which is a much wider lens, right has its own distortion where it stretches out the edges. So if you were to shoot a bunch of people and you put some on the edge, it might white in them exactly. Lens distortion is that tendency for and typically it happens more so with wider the angle lens. So you mentioned sixteen millimeters. It'll happen thirty five. It'll happen at fifty millimeters even but it just happens to a lesser extent and so the lenses basically bending light around the edges and that's where you noticed the linda distortion of most on a wide angle lens, you'll see lens distortion pretty much everywhere but the center of that lance so it wouldn't be too flattering if I were to say pop on this wide angle forty millimeter lens and I shoot you from this distance that would be very, very bad that would not be good, so what would be flattering then as a porter? Linds you probably want to use a zoom lens or something that's fixed at same eighty five which is my favorite portrait linds, I think I that is half a second that eighty five millimeter what whatever variant you have we're using the one to professionally but for the entire workshop is the one and it's an incredible lens it's a perfect lens for portraiture. Eso yeah, standing back a little further zooming in it will eliminate that kind of that lens distortion so perspective distortion and lens distortion those are the two things that we kind of have to come back now we did a cannon lens or siri's by us, our lounge and in that siri's we actually took the exact same shot. Well, very similar shot actually where we basically took the same composition we shot at first at sixteen or think of seventeen millimeters to start with and we backed up to twenty for thirty five, fifty, seventy, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred shooting the same composition on each of these shots we were able to. Well, what we did it for was actually to compare the lenses to one of the one of visual differences in lenses whether there was actually as big of quality differences as people would think between, say, a fifty one point eight versus the one point for us is the one point two now is very interesting we found out that really in reality when you look at these images there's not as big of a difference between these lenses as you would think and often cases primes just even the mediocre primes like one hundred dollars, three hundred dollar for dollar primes, they outdid all the other cameras or at least all the other lens hold on one second so a prime is a fixed focal length like a fifty you can't zoom in or out you literally have to step closer or farther from your subject in a zoom allows you to change that so you don't have toe step closer to subject zoom in yeah essentially with a zoom you get the convenience of having the extra well not having to move so much you control your competition with your focal length with the prime like you said, you're moving back and forth a lot but then you get kind of well get better low light you get a better book aesthetic okay, so what we found out also was that in addition to comparing the linda's were able to see the difference in distortion in len's distortion but also perspective distortion so it's crazy to see basically when we take that shot up close a seventeen millimeters our model looks all this story and each step back you can see the model kind of look more and more normal which is smaller but normal. Every girl would like to write normal well, every guy teo be skinny, but I would like to look normal and minus fifty pounds this's plus fifty pounds weight so so yeah, with every setback, the other thing that happens is that these telephoto lenses they kind of emphasis something that we refer to as lends compression, right. Something interesting about lens compression here's the thing lens compression we refer to basically is telephoto lens as demonstrating or illustrating link's compression basically, what that is is the background elements appear closer to the subject than they actually are. Now, the interesting thing is that if you take a shot at twenty four millimeters and you take a shot at two hundred millimeters and then you zoom into that twenty four millimeter shot all the way, so you have the same exact field of view as you did on that two hundred millimeter image, the compressions actually identical. It isthe did you find this out during the lens for siri's? Yeah, well, we knew that before lens or siri's, but a lot of people think that the compression is actually having to do with the lens itself and in reality, not its not the reason why we refer to it so much as being kind of the lens creating that that compression effect is because who would ever take a shot at twenty four millimeters and then zoom into that little tiny pinpoint what would be the point of that there's no point in that so we go to these lengths because they kind of further emphasized that effect but what that effect really is is by standing back further what's happening is we're changing that perspective distortion so we stand back further the distance between the subject and the background is relatively shorter basically not talking about photographer's perspective exactly so when we took that shot and you can see it when we took that shot at seventeen millimeters the trunk and the background of the tree looks like it's actually like several feet behind the model it looks like it's disappearing into the landscape because our distance the models very close the models is it's the background is further and then as we start to back up the distance the model in the background didn't change our distance to that mall did so the further we step back the more it looks like the trunk is actually coming forward. Okay toe add onto what I just said about lens compression I want you to remember this very simple tip wide angle lenses exaggerate distances and telephoto lenses compressed distances so like I said while we call this effect lens compression and while we use different lenses to achieve the look the compression really has nothing to do with the lens it has to do with a photographer's perspective. Now, when we talk about lens compression and effect that we want, we just say that we want to compress the background with a certain lens but it's actually good to know that the compression isn't actually coming from the lens, but rather the distance between the photographer, the subject and the background and the lands is just there to help achieve that zoom and the composition that we want. So either way, the most important takeaway here again is that shooting close to the subject on a wide angle lens will definitely exaggerate the distance between the subject and the background and then stepping back and using a longer telephoto lens will compress or pull forward with that background so it looks closer to the subject. All right, so we covered lens compression. We've covered lens distortion and perspective distortion. Everything's been covered. So if you guys want more information, check out the cannon lens or siri's on as are allowed. You guys can see us compare all the different lenses from set. I think we start with sixteen millimeters, all with a three hundred milliliters and everything that range. We compare lenses against one another, so we compared basically the fifty millimeter one eight. Versus the one four versus the one to and compared that to say, a twenty four. Seventy at fifty millimeters, to show you the visual differences. So it's, a great visual comparison of all these different lenses. That's it for this video, though, right? I think so. We're done here, so let's. Head on to the next video now.

Ratings and Reviews


I watched this class "live" and was simply amazed at the amount of information Pye covered. Yes, he talks a little fast, and since I was streaming the class I couldn't stop it to review anything, but this guy really knows his stuff and explains it very well so I absorbed quite a bit. Bye is enthusiastic, clearly enjoys his craft, and delivers excellent information to students in a light heartedI and fun way. I think some reviewers are a bit harsh about his humor. Lighten up, people! His examples and the additional information his co-host provides are very worthwhile and you can tell the course was well thought out. I plan to buy the class to help me get back into DSLR photography.


I really enjoyed this class. I am not a beginner, but there were still things I learned here that I found helpful. I really enjoy learning from Pye. He is quick, gets to the point and doesn't spend a lot of time going over and over the same point. There is a wide variety of things that he covers, so really something for everyone. I would recommend purchasing this class if you want to understand your camera better, improve your technique and start taking better photos.

Joy Bobrink

I have tried to learn photography myself via the internet / YouTube but always felt like I was missing something in my foundation. Sure I can zero out my meter...but why? How do I know the settings I've selected are the correct ones? I've been circling this drain for a year until this course. WOW! Pye has SO MUCH information in every video. He doesn't just stand in a classroom and talk, he's out in the field actually putting his settings into his camera, talking about why and why not and then shooting. He's hands on the entire course. You don't just hear him, you see exactly what he's doing! I'm a visual / listening learner and this is my eureka moment! Thank you Pye! Watching the Exposure video and how you changed the settings yet maintained the exact same exposure was mind blowing. Awesome course! I would recommend this to anyone new to photography or anyone that feels like they don't have all the info.

Student Work