Deciding on what focal length to use, or how “zoomed” your lens is, can be a matter of convenience or with a little thought, can be chosen for the type of photo you’re hoping for. I took the opportunity yesterday to use my kids and a friend to demonstrate how different focal lengths can give the photo a different look and feel.
85MM This focal length is a popular portrait lens as the distortion is minimal. It’s a no brainer, good lookin’ photo each time.
35MM I like to use this lens when I want a more editorial feel, showing action and what is going on and with the people I’m taking photos of, as well as their surroundings. The shorter focal lengths, or wider zoom of the lens, show much more distortion and tend to be a little less flattering for portraits. Because of that, I tend to not take close ups of people with this lens, unless I want to emphasize being a part of the action.
50MM This is an in between focal length, not quite perfect for photos, not quite showing all the action. But I really enjoy the ability to interact with the subjects in the photo since I’m close enough to talk and not yell, yet I’m not completely in their face with a camera either.
35MM I feel a part of the action, as if I’m there with them.
85MM Sometimes being removed from the action can allow the subjects to feel a little more at ease and natural. This isn’t the best example to show this, since kids tend to let their real feelings show no matter what, but with adults and teens I find it’s nice to give a little space sometimes.