Business, Photography

May 18, 2017

Art of Photography: Why Different Lenses Matter

When it comes to photography, there are so many factors that make up an image.

Generally, we see how things like the subject, background, editing, camera (phone vs. dslr), and maybe even light change pictures. But there is SO much more that goes what makes a photo look the way it does.

One of those things is lenses.

During my sessions and weddings, my couples will frequently here me say “Ok guys, stay right there and hang out for a second. I’m going to change my lens.”¬†Sometimes I switch lenses simply because I cannot back up any further. So I’ll switch to a different lens to capture more of the scene or vice versa putting on something more zoomed in so I can be farther away. But most of the time, I don’t have to change lenses, I just want to for the “look” of the image.

Here’s an example. These two images were taken back-to-back with the exact same settings.

They look super different, right? The one on the left was taken with my 24mm lens and the one on the right was taken with my 85mm.

Noteable differences:

24 – background seems farther away, more of the scene is in focus, the focus of the image is more on the surroundings and less on the subject

85 – background seems closer, the background fades/blurs behind subject, subject is largely the focus without distracting background and side details

So crazy, right?

Here’s a less drastic example that was taken a few minutes and a hair change apart, haha.

The left image was taken with a 50mm and the right with an 85mm. The differences in these images are smaller. However, if you really look the biggest difference is how sharp the background appears. The background fades more behind the subject with the 85 and places much more emphasis on the subject than the surroundings.

So when you hear of photographers having lots of “gear” and lenses and you wonder why, it’s because different tools produce different results. Photographers are not only documenters but artists who see the world through their knowledge of how their tools will capture the scene. It’s a crazy, complicated world, but it’s so fun!

Photographers, what are your favorite lenses?

Non-photographers, do you see a difference and prefer one over the other? I’d love to hear your thoughts!