Using Lenses and Focal Length to Create Distortion

Distortion is normally seen as something that you want to avoid when taking photos, however by adjusting the focal length it is possible to distort photos on purpose. Distorting photos can create interesting and amusing results. Using the lenses and focal length correctly will make it possible to create some unique photographs.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Digital SLR Camera
  • Lens 
  • Wide Angled Lens

Step 1 - Setting the Scene

The first thing that you will need to do is choose the location where you will take your photo. The best way is to choose a landscape and then photograph your subject in front of it. Normally you will shoot from a distance to take the entire landscape.

When distorting the photo you will find it much more interesting if you take a photo of your subject up close. This is a different way of using landscapes in photography and creating some unique looks.

Step 2 - Distorting the Photo

By using a wide angled lens up close you will find that this creates different perspective. This also has the advantage of distorting the photo slightly. Put on the lens and get up close to the subject, then start taking the photos. Experiment by taking a number of different photographs.

Step 3 - Experimenting

If you experiment with up close photos using a wide focal point lens you will find that you can create some interesting distorted photos. If you are taking a photo of someone looking down then normally their head will be slightly enlarged.

Alternatively, if you shoot from below looking up at someone using a short focal point then you will see that anything at the bottom of the image will be stretched. This could be anything depending on where you start the photo, from the head for example the chin will be stretched, but for a whole body shot the legs will be stretched.

With experimentation you will be able to find out what works well and how you can take some fantastic distorted photos which look perfectly unique.

Experimentation is important because just adjusting the focal length by a few millimeters will create a very different look. Take a few different lenses with you and experiment with the different results that you can create. Take as many photos as you can because each one will look different.

Step 4 - Comparing Results

When you experiment you should load the photos onto your computer and take a look at the results. You will find that the photograph won't be an accurate representation of the subject, however it will create unique and interesting photos. Similar results can also be achieved using computer software, however learning this technique is much more interesting.

Some of these photos will actually be very amusing and your family will probably really enjoy them. Once the photos are loaded onto the computer they can then be shared or printed out.

Distorting photos can create some unique and interesting. Once you've started creating these photos you will quickly discover that you won't be able to stop.

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