Lens Distortion


Think Like a Photographer


Lesson Info

Lens Distortion

other things when it comes to lenses sometimes when I'm in the field I mess with things and I will distort reality in this case that's my wife karen and that's a cactus cactus looks awfully big but it's not she's pointing at the cactus right now and so sometimes the fact that you have a three dimensional scene but you're capturing it in two dimensions you can mess with people and so oftentimes I'm looking for something that might be near the camera and with a wide angle lens if you get something near the camera it's gonna look huge and something far away is gonna look tiny do you remember why I had a picture of an arch in the distance in an arch near us and I made the one shot the arch in the distance you almost didn't even see it it was so small and then when I grabbed a longer lens a problem really close well if I use a wide lens it's going to make things feel much further apart it's going to make far away things feel small so I just told karen tow walk behind her by on ly out to abo...

ut here do you see what my mouse's and then I got a really wide lands and I got down really close to that thing and I could make her look just a stall is it so sometimes I'm doing that on occasion it's actually something I need to get more used to doing but this is where I'd have to be careful and I wasn't as careful as I wanted to be here in that remember any time you get something close to the lens you're magnifying it and that's when depth of field gets reduced so in this case I think karen's a little soft I didn't what's gonna stop down my lens I didn't choose enough stop high enough to keep her nice and sharp but it's one thing I think about when I'm in the field all right now let's talk about shooting architecture er er vehicles and people all the same time uh I think I mentioned at the very beginning I own a vintage bus that's being converted into my home after winter is done I'll live on it if you want to see what that looks like you can go to facebook dot com forward slash creative cruiser well at the shop that's creating the interior from my bus this is the bus that they finished up right before mine it pulled out mine pulled in and they've been working on mine for the last year so is my body is mark's bus and I want to show you how I ended up shooting it and how this is not the most ideal shot notice that in this shot the front of the bus feels massively larger than the back of the bus doesn't it so let me open that up I'll show you how the lens choice that I used changes that this one here was shot with a fourteen millimeter that's the widest lens you khun get that doesn't bend things I usually used for shooting ideas after shooting the interior of his bus you want a really wide view so it doesn't you can show the interior that's a fourteen watch what happens when I switched to a thirty eight and then watch what happens when I switched to a fifty now let's try to figure out what the heck's going on here why does it so radically different between this in this because that's dramatic isn't it so let some go look find out my wife karen was nice enough to make this little illustration and this represents the two different ways I could shoot this image and not thinking aboutthe lens I'm using so much as just thinking about the distance of the object from the camera now we have the front of the boss near the camera the rear the boss further away obviously let's say we measured it and let's just say I had the camera ten feet away from the front of a bus and then the back of the bus was twenty five feet away so twenty five feet isn't that two and a half times the distance that two and half times so when it comes to perspective just in general the father thing something gets from your camera the smaller it looks you're used to that somebody's standing way into the landscape they look tiny if they walk right up to your camera look huge right well if you look at the difference the difference between the front and the rear this is two and a half times as far away right that's cause I'm shooting from really close up then I back up I backed up a ce faras I could until I hit the wall of the building I was in there's no further back I could go without having them pull the bus out of the building and when I did that I might have been fifty feet away if I was fifty feet away then the back of the bus would still be fifteen extra feet back so would be sixty five feet away but if you look at the difference between these two the ratio instead of being two and a half times is far away this if you do the math is one point three times as far away it's barely further away from that camera's position as the front of the bus does that make sense overall so if when I'm shooting this when it comes to perspective if things were closer to the lens they look bigger just have somebody walk right up to you don't have to have a lens this move your hand close your face it looks big move faraway look small right well yes I get something further away from the lens that difference between the front and back compared to where the cameras is a lot less then here where it's two and a half times as far away and so that's what's going on here here is when the back of the bus is two and a half times as far from the camera is the front of buses whereas here the back of the bus is one point three times meaning not very much further than the front of the buses and that makes it so it feels less distorted does that make any sense if it does or not but but this is why you don't want to shoot somebody in a portrait from really up close with a wide angle lens there knows we'll look like the front of this bus it's going to just do this huge talking things sticking out there in their ears were goingto look tiny because they're like the back of the bus right instead if you're shooting something like a portrait you want something like an eighty five millimeter lens or longer let's say let's say seventy five millimeter or longer because having a lens that seventy five millimeters air longer is going to make you back up from that subject otherwise you're only gonna include their eyes and one year in the shot you're going to have to be further away and as you get further away compared to where the camera is their ears are not going to be all that much further away than the tip of their nose compared to the camera get the camera really close to them though with a wide angle lens and their ears they're going to be quite a ways further away than the tip of their nose compared to the camera and you're going to get that distortion so that's why when you're shooting people you don't want to usually use a wide angle lens unless you're looking for a special effect you want a weird looking face instead grab an eighty five would be a nice lens for a face uh or longer uh it's going to make their face look more normal so in this case what I did is I backed up a ce faras I could until my back was against this the corner of this building I grabbed my lens whatever one I thought might cover this I zoomed it to see if I can get the bus in it and then if that wasn't the right lens I switched until I found the one that would cover the whole thing and that's what I shot it with so the difference between this in this and it doesn't matter if that's a building a person's face rebus um the further away you are less distortion the closer you are with a wider lens the more distortion and uh that's the way I think about that any questions there we did but you answered it yes exactly we did all right huh so anyway uh if you're worried about distortion that kind of stuff for you just find some of your pictures looking weird back up a little bit grab a longer lens the only thing is I had to be careful if you're used to shooting with a wide angle lens if that's like your default go to lens when you back away like this and you grab a longer land step the field starts coming into play because if you're used to a wide angle lens you could ignore your after setting almost as long as your subjects are five feet away or more it wouldn't really matter and most the time but when you start backing up like this and you have to zoom up and get a longer lens if your mindset is like a wide angle shooter where aperture is not overly critical it's going to start becoming critical here and you might start getting the back of this bus out of focus so you're going to have to think do I need to now press that little depth of field preview button stare at the back of the bus and say is it sharp and if it's not increase your f stop number a little bit tested again and make sure you got it nice and sharp before you take that one and only shot you might be able to get oh I had this earlier this is another lens related thing this is my bus by the way you just some of the bus they finished up with previously this is mine and here I happen to shoot it with two different focal lengths this one is shot with a seventy millimeter and this one is a thirty five you see the shape of that bridge how here is exaggerating the length here it's compressing the length so this is seventy this is thirty five if I scale the bus so it's not changing in size then the difference would be just look at the brit well I thought it wasn't going to change its eyes hold on and it's these two there we go just like that the bus is staying the same look at the bridge bitch feels really long bridge feels more short like in length not in height so that share your lens remember long lenses compress wide lenses expand all right so I did the same thing here you know to shoot this didn't want the front of this vehicle to look massively huge compared to the back so again I moved as far away as I could this is in a museum and I moved into my back was literally right up against the wall and where I couldn't even view the image after I got out from behind the camera you know I couldn't slip back behind it t recheck it and then I went for a longer lens I focused about a third of the way down the length of the bus and I did my depth of field previa checking my aperture to see if I get both the front and the back in focus on dh then I was ready to shoot it this happens to be a light painted image where this is at night time the entire building is dark and I'm walking to the scene with a flashlight and I'm this entire thing was lit with the flashlight was sitting here the flashlight ahead on the table earlier today I always have a flashlight in my bag so if I ever want to create a different image what I like about light painting is just like before when I talked about isolating things from their backgrounds and we could do it with brightness or we do it with focus that kind of stuff well here I could do it by lighting the subject and just not let a single bit of light touch the background because the background had a bunch of other vehicles in here there was a table over here there was stands over there ugly wall behind it all that kind of stuff but that's one reason why I really like light painting because I can isolate it by just lighting what I want you to see if you want to learn about light pain want to your first one there's a free pdf from my website that gives you enough information to try your first light painting my website is digital mastery dot com that's the word digital and then m a s t e r y dot com when you get there you'll find a product page for an e book unlike painting that's what you'd want to click on and within that page will be a free sample the free sample gives you enough info to your first like painting so if you want to be able to isolate that way it's one of my favorite types of photography I also have a course in creative live on like painting that I recorded earlier all right so then I like isolating backgrounds you know isolate subject from background here is my wife karen uh and here do you see the detail in the background behind her head you see hints of detail there and unfortunately people the studio audience one day you'll have to look at my screen here they adjust this screen so it looks good on the video cameras it looks nothing like my screen here this one's actually saturated that's not at all so well after the seminar is over you have to glance it'll be actually funny but anyway here the detail behind my wife's head it's soft but it's not really soft if you compare that to this different pose but look behind her head do you see how much softer it is how much you can't see the detail compared to this one and look at the things near the camera and this shot you see it's a little bit more of a detail whereas here it's really soft and that's the difference between here I shot uh I don't have the original I'm assuming this is f eleven and this is f two point eight and this is where if you want to do a lot of this where you get the background to go soft it's better to spend a little bit more in your glass work with fewer lenses if you can just spend more on them if you're doing zoom lenses in f two point eight lens if you can do that you're going to be easier to do this the longer the lens easier it is to do this so your wide angle lenses aren't gonna be quite as effective here so here I might be using my seventy two two hundred is what I think I'm using here it's set to two point eight and I'm focusing right on her

Class Description

So you just bought your first DSLR, now what? In this two-day workshop, professional photographer and Photoshop Hall of Famer Ben Willmore will take you inside his award-winning mind. From composition techniques to post-production Photoshop magic, Ben will unpack everything the pros know about taking and editing amazing photos. Ben will reveal his entire thought process when shooting — showing you how simple choices like lens selection can dramatically alter your results. You will also learn what settings you need to capture the right light, how to modify your gear to make it more useful, Photoshop techniques to polish your photos, and how to use apps and software to streamline your workflow. Whether you’re a beginning photographer, or a working photographer interested in a refresher course, this workshop will teach you how to make the most out of your DSLR.


Ashleigh L

AMAZING CLASS! I caught bits and pieces of the live stream, but even in those bits and pieces of it, I learned so much! He's a great teacher, easy to understand and great visuals. He "walks around" the subject to give us different POV, tells us the negative/positive/neutral of the photo, and tips. Thank you, Ben!