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4 Ways to Use the Canon 11-24mm Lens

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You finally got your hands on the esteemed Canon EF 11-24mm F/4L USM lens. It’s a heavy, sharp, ultra-wide thing of beauty with an awesome perspective. Now you’re wondering, other than capturing the entire scene in front of you, how does one maximize this lens? Here are a few ways to you can use the Canon 11-24MM lens:

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1. Compositional Impact

When you first look through the Canon 11-24mm lens, everything looks high impact and with a “wow” factor, as the view is quite unique. However, shooting at an ultra-wide focal length does not automatically translate to better pictures. No matter what lens you use, all the elements that make a great picture still apply.

4 Ways to Use the Canon 11-24mm Lens

Wide-angle lenses are used extensively in landscape photography for the “near-far” style of composition. This translates to the ability to include generous foreground elements, as well as a middle and background (e.g skies). Keep in mind that an ultra-wide amplifies your distances further. This all amounts to creating an image with great depth and compositional impact.

4 Ways to Use the Canon 11-24mm Lens

One of the reasons that an 11-24mm lens needs time to master is because, by default, ultra-wide lenses include everything in a scene. When you are creating a photograph, though, it’s still about composing to include (and exclude) all the elements you want.

2. Lines and space

The minimal distortion on the Canon 11-24mm lens allows you to keep your straight lines straight. When you need a large angle of view in your architectural photography, this feature is quite useful. This is also great if you are inside a space with a lot of detail to capture. Conversely, of course, it works against you when want to exclude the details.

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In enclosed spaces, it is often hard to capture an entire room unless you use an ultra-wide lens. The angle of view on the Canon 11-24mm lens (mounted on a full-frame) does the job sharp and with minimal distortion. It is not limited to building interiors though, think about that cave or canyon you want to capture.

Using an ultrawide (that is not a fisheye) will go a long way towards capturing such spaces.

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Image 1: Horizon Centered Image 2: Lens tilted up slightly Image 3: Lens tilted down slightly

All lenses give the effect of converging lines when pointed above or below the horizon. However, it is more noticeable when you use a wide-angle lens, though, as you capture a greater expanse. Furthermore, with wides and ultra-wide lenses, you change the location of your “vanishing point” even with small variations in your composition. So, be mindful of your verticals.

Note: The vanishing point is that point where lines converge or meet and appear to vanish.

3. Perspective exaggeration

As mentioned previously, an ultra-wide lens exaggerates distances. This perspective exaggeration makes nearby objects look even bigger (nearer) and those further away look even smaller (farther). Great high-impact images occur when you master the art of perspective.

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Head-on Shot

It helps to remember that shorter focal lengths, as well as having the camera nearer to the subject, both lend themselves to a stronger perspective/bigger perspective exaggeration effect. Also of note, angles play a huge role when you are showing perspectives. When you shoot at a 45-degree angle, for example, the image will have more depth than if you shoot at a more head-on (flat/plane aligned) angle.

Image: The same Image as above, shot at an angle

The same Image as above, shot at an angle

So practically speaking, when using a wide-angle lens, there is often an innate need to move closer to the subject, which is what affects the perspective. While perspective exaggeration works well with landscapes, it does not work well for portraiture (no one wants their nose to look bigger, right?)

4. Artistic

Perspective exaggeration (above) is one of the ways you can get creative with your Canon 11-24mm lens. You can use it to emphasize detail in your foreground, while still capturing the background scene. If you shoot flowers, for example, getting closer will make them appear bigger than they really are.

If you want to prevent perspective exaggeration, place your subject in the center of the frame. For a more artistic approach though, you can emphasize the perspective exaggeration by placing your subject closer to the edges.

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Shooting from lower positions is another great way to get creative with this lens.

Conclusion

The Canon EF 11-24mm F/4L USM lens is a great lens to have in your arsenal.

After investing in such an amazing lens, though, you should maximize it. Experiment with architecture and interiors, getting closer to your subject and let your creative side out to play.

Remember, wider does not automatically mean better, and the rules of composition still apply (and can even be more challenging).

Share your perspectives with us below!

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Nisha Ramroop
Nisha Ramroop

is an I.T. chick and Project Manager with a passion for photography, currently living in the beautiful Trinidad & Tobago. She’s a published writer and photographer who spends most of her free time traveling and exploring. See more of her work at Nikophotography.