Or… neither?

Consider the following photo of my dear husband. I shot it with a Canon 5D, which is an excellent, full-frame sensor camera body. On the 5D was an L-series lens, Canon’s 16-35mm f2.8.

What do you think? Isn’t he just so handsome?

Well, he is – but I would have to say that he is not looking his best. So I’ll try again with my 5-year-old, Leo.

Oh my. Not the cutest photo of this little fellow, either.

What’s happening here?

The 16-35mm lens is a wide-angle lens. Great for landscapes and cityscapes, wide-angle lenses can capture an area that encompasses most of what you can see with your peripheral vision. They are not so great for flattering portraits, because they tend to create some distortion, as if the image was placed on top of a round surface.

They can be useful in creating a humorous effect, such as bobble-head Leo, below.

And, if used properly, a wide-angle lens can capture a beautiful environmental portrait. I used the same lens in this last image as I did with all three above. Centering Jonas in the middle where there’s less distortion, standing (crouching, really) back a little bit produced this photo. I absolutely love it and now have a 10×20 mounted on standout hanging in my house.

Brides: I promise I will never shoot a portrait of you that looks like any of the first three images! (Unless you ask me to.) Be sure when choosing a photographer that you find someone with a thorough understanding of their equipment, so that they can create the most flattering images of you on your wedding day.