Choosing the Best Lens for Architectural Photography

Some people consider architectural photography to be a little bit difficult to master simply because it often needs a special type of lens to get the best images. You also need to have a good appreciation of the structure you’re going to shoot as well as a pretty good aesthetic sense. If you’re looking to find out what the best lens for architectural photography is, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’re going to share with you some of the best lens choices you can make.

Tilt-Shift Lenses

One of the best lenses for architectural photography is a tilt-shift, which is also referred to as a perspective correction lens. This type of lens is designed to let your SLR camera work like a view camera or bellows. One of the biggest problems you’ll encounter when taking shots of tall structures from ground level is that the top of the subject appears further away as it gets taller. The lens will help as it will introduce a sense of perspective in the image. The best way to capture the shot is to point the camera parallel to the ground. However, make sure you’re getting the top of the structure in the lens and not mainly the ground. A tilt-shift lens will enable you to position your camera perfectly horizontally while positioning the lens’ view upwards.

There are some excellent tilt-shift lenses on the market with these being among the best:

Canon: TS-E 24mm f/3.5L Tilt Shift Lens; TS-E 45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift Lens; TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift Lens

Nikon: 28mm f/3.5 PC-Nikkor; 85mm f/2.8 PC Micro Nikkor

Fisheye lenses

If you’d like to create some special effects in your images you may want to try fisheye lenses. These types of lenses will create a totally new aspect in architectural photography. A fisheye lens will allow you to explore architecture as a series of shapes and patterns and let you distort them into creative photos. In fact, you may not be sure of what you’re looking at due to the new creative view of the structure.

Some of the leading fisheye lenses include:

Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens;

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye lens; 16mm F/2.8D AF Fisheye lens

Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye for Canon; 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye for Nikon; 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye for Canon; 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye for Nikon

Ultra Wide-Angle lenses

Since you may also be taking interior shots of small and narrow rooms or passageways you’ll need to use a wide angle lens to capture the entire area. In fact, an ultra wide angle lens may be the best bet. They can sometimes be relatively costly and that’s why most photography buffs may not own one. They’re more for professionals since the typical range is 14 to 21mm. There are some good makes of ultra-wide zoom lenses which may fulfill your needs if you’d rather spend the money on one instead of the wide angle models.

Some of the best of these are made by Tamron, Sigma, and Nikon.

If you have a Nikon or Canon camera these are some lenses that may interest you:

Canon: EF 14mm f/2.8L USM; EF 20mm f/2.8 USM; EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM; EF 17-40mm f/4L USM; EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Nikon: 12-24mm f/4G ED IF DX; 14mm f/2.8D ED AF; 18mm f/2.8D AF; 20mm f/2.8D AF

Wedding Photography Lenses That Every Photographer Can’t Do Without

There are generally four kinds of photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have in his or her gig bag:

  • Wide-Angle Zoom
  • Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom
  • Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom
  • Prime/Portrait Lenses

Wide-Angle Zoom

Wide-angle zoom lenses are one of the most important photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have, typically 17mm to 35mm in length with a fixed aperture of f/2.8. They provide a large depth of field, making it simple to have foreground and background in focus. They are an indispensable wedding photography equipment which allows versatility in confined areas such as a small banquet room or crowded dance floor. While shorter photography lenses allow you to capture more details, wide-angle zoom lenses allow you to capture more reactions and atmosphere to tell a richer story.

To elaborate further, wide-angle zoom photography lenses allow you to shoot a wider perspective of moments happening around the major subject, hence providing a bigger picture of the entire event. For example, wide-angle photos have the capability to tell “stories within a story”, allowing you to reveal more of the story behind the shot. This is essential for a good photojournalistic wedding photography. As events surrounding weddings are so time sensitive, good photography lenses will allow you to capture as many actions or emotions in the quickest time as possible.

When used in a venue such as the church or ballroom, wide-angle zoom photography lenses also magnify the grandeur and spaciousness of the area, which encapsulates the creative feel for a photojournalistic wedding photography.

However, you need to be selective of the scenes or actions using wide-angle photography lenses, as a caveat to shooting wide is that it creates some body distortion, particularly when a subject is photographed close-up. Generally, people tend to look heavier and shorter on the edges, while arms can look huge. The last thing you want is to have the bride cursing you for making her look like she has put on 10 pounds! To get around this problem, you should as far as possible avoid putting the bride and groom at the edges of the wide-angle distortion. In addition, wide-angle photography lenses might also introduce distracting or unwanted elements into the frame, which would otherwise ruin a picture perfect moment.

Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom

Wide-to-telephoto lenses are the single most important photography lenses that a wedding photographer cannot do without. They should ideally be lenses that cover somewhere around the 20-70mm focal length range with an aperture of f/2.8. This ideal range lets you get wide enough to take a group photograph and close enough to capture facial emotions in your candid shots or a three-quarter portrait of a couple without the undesirable effects of wide-angle perspective distortion. They also double as good lenses for portraits. Given just this lens, you would be able to capture most of the shots needed for a wedding decently well.

Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom

Image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses are also essential items in your wedding photography equipment checklist. The 70-200mm focal length is an important range for wedding ceremony photos. It allows you to give your subjects more space in situations where you don’t want to get in the way. As you will often be photographing down the aisle from the back of the church, image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses will come in very handy. 200mm is long enough to be able to take 3/4 length images of the bride and groom exchanging their vows while staying at a reasonable distance away from the action and 70mm is wide enough to take in the bridesmaids or groomsmen as a group without switching photography lenses.

A good point to note is that when using such photography lenses, nice blurred background can be achieved with maximum wide apertures of f/2.8 and long focal lengths of 200mm or 300mm, whether you are using a full-frame or a small sensor body. This allows you to isolate the subject from its background, and to focus attention on the image as the main subject you want to portray. Such photography lenses are especially useful for shots where you are unable to get in close and for intimate and private moments, where you want to be an unobserved stranger at a distance. Some examples include a stolen glance, a mischievous grin, a kiss – the details that are effectively conveyed by the emotions. Image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses hence play an important role in capturing such moments.

These image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses aren’t only good for blurry backgrounds or shooting events from a distance. They could also be used to photograph stunning facial close-ups from creative angles above or below the subject that don’t exhibit the normal distortions of large chins or shrinking heads that come from wider photography lenses.

Yet another advantage of such photography lenses is that you can use the small-sensor camera’s 1.5x crop factor to your favour. The 200/2.8 long end of the standard zoom effectively becomes 300/2.8, a lens that would cost $4000 for a full-frame camera. The effective 300mm length allows for more creative photo angles than shorter photography lenses, such as tightly cropped images of the groom’s hands lifting the bride’s veil or the bride and groom’s hands while they put rings on each others fingers.

The obvious disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zooms is that in many cases, long photography lenses tend to disconnect the subject from the main scene and there might be little to no context as to why the subject may have had expressed how they were feeling, the whereabouts of the subject and who else was there.

When using a small-sensor camera as your primary or backup body, the other disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses is that neither Nikon, Canon or Sony make an f/2.8 lens that gives you an effective 70-200mm focal length. Hence, you would have to pay the high price and carry the weight of photography lenses designed for a full-frame camera.

Canon’s Image-Stabilization, Nikon’s Vibration-Reduction and Sony’s SteadyShot INSIDE systems are indispensable in allowing you to hand-hold these large and heavy long photography lenses, especially in low light situations. Every wedding photographer should ensure that the image-stablization and vibration-reduction features are available on their long lenses. You might also want to consider using a tripod to ensure continuous, accurate subject placement and sharp photos. Such telephoto zoom photography lenses are huge investments and if you have a budget constraint or an amateur just starting out, you might want to consider rental instead.

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses are essentially photography lenses with fixed focal lengths, as opposed to zoom lenses, which have variable focal lengths of say 24-70mm or 17-55mm. Prime lenses generally have a better optical quality than zoom photography lenses, and usually come with wider maximum apertures such as f/2.8 or f/1.8.

Good prime lenses are must-have photography lenses for any wedding photographer, as they are excellent for taking good portraits. Although you will be adequately equipped for a wedding shoot with the three zoom lenses in your lens kit as discussed above, it is worth including two to three fast prime lenses in your bag as well. These photography lenses are compact, light, and fairly inexpensive and would probably be needed in about 10 to 20% of a wedding shoot.

Faster prime photography lenses are ideal in situations where f/2.8 aperture is not enough to get the motion-stopping shutter speed or shallow depth of field desired, whether for artistic or technical reasons. For example, an image that requires a 1/20th of a second shutter speed at f/2.8 will only require 1/60th of a second at f/1.8, forming a distinction between a sharp image and a blurry one. Many professional wedding photographers actually include prime lenses in their gig bags as an economical backup to their zoom lenses. Not many people could afford to purchase an additional 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens as a backup and you also want to prevent a frantic situation whereby your photography lens fails on you during a crucial moment.

There are many prime lenses available on the market but most photographers would include a 28/1.8, 50/1.8, and 85/1.8 in their prime photography lenses kit to be used on a full-frame body. The 28mm is wide enough to cover most ceremony locations and confined spaces, the 50mm is good for small groups or a priest blessing a couple, and the 85mm is long enough for ceremony vows and exchange of rings. A wedding can be successfully photographed with just these three photography lenses.

Top Things To Consider When Shopping For Wildlife Photography Lenses

Wildlife photography lenses can mean a difference between high quality images and low quality shots. The lenses should possess the right zoom level to allow you to have a close-up shot of a herd of buffalo grazing or a mother lioness playing with her cubs. In addition to zoom capacity, you should also consider the price, focal length and stability when selecting photography lenses.

How to choose your lenses?

Focal length
The focal length (fl) of your lenses will establish from how far you can take a clear shot. Wildlife photography lenses with long focal length will allow you to take a clear shot when you are miles away. This is essential when you are taking pictures of dangerous animals for example lions, elephants and snakes since you do not need to be next to the animal to take a shot. A lens with a fl of 400mm and above, for instance, is excellent when you are taking photographs of birds or carnivores that can attack and injure you.

Image stability
Stabilization is another thing you will need to consider when acquiring those photography lenses. Lenses with extremely long focal length can allow you to take a close shot while the subject is far from you, however it has one drawback. The image is frequently not as clear as you may want it. However, you can control photo blurring by increasing the shutter speed of the lenses. In addition, avoid placing the camera on a tripod when taking photos. It would be better if you can hold the camera on your hand.

Price
The price of the lenses can vary depending on features. You need to therefore have a budget of the total amount you are inclined to spend before you start your shopping. This way you can search for wildlife photography lenses which fit your budget. You may also want to shop around and compare prices of different dealers since this is the only way to find cheap lenses. Lenses with greater focal length are fairly costly because it means the manufacturer has used more glass to make the lenses. However, this should not worry you if you are a wildlife lover since you are assured of getting premium quality shots.

Weight
The weight of the lenses is another thing you will need to consider. Greater focal length lenses are made using more glass and this means they are heavier than lenses with short focal length.

Finding the best lenses for taking wildlife depends on several factors. These factors include focal length, price and image stability. The right lenses have high quality features to allow you to take clear and beautiful photos. However, you must be willing to spend a considerable amount to buy these lenses. Lenses with great focal length allow you to take shots from great distance, but the photos may be blurred. However, you can modify the shutter speed to make sure the images come out clear.

You should be able to find the right wildlife photography lenses for you with these suggestions.