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Choosing a long lens or a wide lens.

We have all heard people say use a wide lens and just crop, or use a 35mm and learn to use your feet to zoom.

Well, all these have their place. If you are learning composition, then yes, taking time to walk fore/aft to frame a shot could be a good practice, but I am not here to say either way.

I am here to say, if you know what you are going to shoot, then choose a lens that allows you to get your shot.

Without going into a discussion about distortions and compressions, you can basically get the same framed shot of a person/group with a 24mm all the way to a 200mm (in fact, I recently shot StyleFashion week with a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Art lens)

There are times, when we choose a lens based on its 'Field of View' (FOV). In super simple terms, how wide of an area you can see.

Sigma 24mm-85mm Field of View

I had an impromptu shot with Seira Vong in my living room, and this was a very narrow environment. So I chose longer lens so my FOV is narrow. If I used a wider lens, then my lights would have been in the shot. FYI, from the time I got the call till we finished this shot, under 1 hour.

Seira Vong - Chrismas Fun Light Test Seira Vong - Chrismas Fun

The shot on the left was my test shot at 24mm, and as you can see, right in my living room.

This picture to the right, was shot with at 200mm, so I could avoid getting my strip boxes in the shot.

Some times its the opposite, where I need a shot that includes a lot of background and width, because I don't have the luxury of backing up.


In this shot, I used a 24mm lens and was able to get Jessica Weaver framed nicely, as well as get so much in the shot. And well, I also did the opposite of compression (what you get with a long lens), which is how I made this very small location look big and expansive. This location was actually very very small.

So in the end, don't forget, framing a shot is not just just walking to and from your subject, but choosing an FOV that suits what you want or need.

Mike Bradley

Author: Mike Bradley

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