Exercise Title: Understand how focal length choice affects composition
Purpose: Understand how different focal lengths and distance to an object can drastically change the resulting image
Put on your longest lens and take an image of an object so that it roughly fills about 70% of the frame. Something like a mail box or driftwood on the beach would be ideal. With the first image taken now put on your new lens and set it at 10mm. Take a picture from the same spot of the same object. Now, without looking at the camera walk towards the object until you think the resulting image would have the object fill 70% of the frame again like your first shot. Bring the camera to your eye to see if you are right. If not keep moving forward/backward until you get to the right spot and take another image.
When you get back to the computer compare the 3 images to get a sense of how the focal length affects the image and story you want to tell.
Send me a note on what you learned from the exercise and share any images you would like to.
Nicely done and I love the sudden realisation as to just how close you need to get to fill the frame with the wide angle. Really important to understand how the camera reacts to a scene when we have different focal lengths being used. Go and practice this by using your zoom at their maximum and minimum zoom lengths by finding random objects and making sure each image has the same object filling pretty much the same amount of space.
You can then make an informed mental decision before picking up the camera as to which lens you need to tell your story. Do you wan to add in lots of the background to put the object in context of location, well, then you’ll need to get on the wide angle and get in close. If you want to isolate the subject in just a small part of the background then it’s time to get out the longer focal length and move back.

Back to Top