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Wide Angle Portraits Contest

Welcome to our first contest at Photographer's Cooperative! We're super excited to have you here and we have some awesome prizes lined up for future months. Lets consider this a test run, with a shout-out on our social media, a feature on our blog and bragging rights as the prizes. 

Here's how it works. Follow our brand spankin' new Instagram account, @PhotographersCoop and post up to 3 of your best photos that fit the monthly theme to that month's contest hashtag. Please don't flood our feed with more than 3 photos, we'd hate to have to be meanies and disqualify anyone. 

This month's contest theme is: Wide Angle Portraits and the hashtag is #PhotographersCoop_WAP

After 2 weeks, submissions will close and each of the co-op members will pick a favorite finalist, and those will be posted on our Instagram for our followers to vote for the winner. Good Luck!

Most of the time, when we think of portraits, we expect to use a lens with a longer focal length (85 mm or longer). The longer lens adds some compression, which tends to be more flattering. It also creates that beautiful background blur that makes your subject really stand out. Rules are meant to be broken, though, sometimes with surprisingly awesome results. To get you inspired, here are some of our own favorite Wide Angle Portraits, along with a few tips and some of the challenges we encountered in creating them. 

School Picnic, by Aaron Taylor

School Picnic - a wide angle portrait of father and son

I love this photo of me and my son. We were at his end-of-the-year preschool picnic, sitting on a blanket, enjoying the sun and fun. A week or so prior, I had bought the Canon 24-70 f/2.8. I brought it along to my son's celebration, hoping to get a few start-of-summer photos.

This photo is just a DSLR selfie, which isn't too tough at 24mm. The problem? My Canon 6D doesn't have a rotating screen, so I had no clue whether or not the photo was in focus or completely obscured by lens flare. I had positioned us with the sun at our backs, as I usually do for natural light portraits, so I just set the focus to auto and hoped for the best.

Oh, and I couldn't meter the light during the shot, so I took a few shots prior to this moment to make sure I was within a stop of the exposure I wanted. I figured I could correct things later if I was close enough.

With only a few shutter clicks to work with (four-year-olds don't have much patience for stuff like this), I got exactly what I wanted. Now I have a photo of me and my son that I'll cherish for a lifetime. 

Bold Foal by Tracy Munson

My first pet portrait session with horses was a real eye opener. As a city girl, I hadn't spent a whole lot of time around horses, so my expectations were not exactly on point. Fortunately, the owner was a friend, and a very knowledgeable horse person, or I would not have taken on this task. Photographing animals when you are not totally familiar with their behaviour can have risks to both the photographer and the animal.

One of my main misconceptions was that I would be photographing the horses from a distance, with a long wildlife. Hey, guess what? Horses, and foals in particular are extremely gregarious and super curious. The 70-200 mm lens stayed in the bag and the 24-70 mm was almost always zoomed all the way out to 24 mm.

I brought along a reflector, thinking it might help for back lit photos like this one. I was a little concerned that it might freak the horses out. Hahahahaha. I was so naive and stupid back then. The foals (there were 3 of them, this one, Georgie was the youngest) were OBSESSED with the reflector. Chasing it, licking it, chewing on it. They couldn't get enough. Their owner asked where she could get them one, they loved it so much!

In the end, I couldn't keep Georgie far enough away from the reflector to use it effectively, so it had to go back in the bag. I ended up bracketing 3 shots at different exposures and blending them in Photoshop, using luminosity masks. This was more challenging than usual, since she was walking towards me and was in a different position in every photo. I think the results were worth it, this photo always makes me smile.     

Settings: Nikon D750, 24mm, f/16, 1/640 sec,

ISO 800                       

Beach Sunset by Erika Sneeringer

After getting the MagMod and Sphere, I wanted to experiment with it.  I thought it would be fun to do a sunset portrait.  One evening, I took my sun to a nearby beach area on a lake.  We had a nice picnic dinner and fed the geese.  Then, my son had fun modeling for me while I experimented with the MagMod.  I used off-camera flash with the MagMod MagSphere.  I actually didn't bring any lightstands with me but I don't care for the on camera flash look.  I ended up holding the speedlight with my left hand, extending my arm as far as I could.  The flash made the skin exposure look very cool.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring any gels with me.  Luckily, that is a pretty easy fix in post, I just warmed it up a bit with the white balance slider in Lightroom. 

My son doesn't usually willingly cooperate with being my model.  We both had a lot of fun this evening!  I love that I got a great picture of him while also capturing the entire scene of the beautiful sunset and geese wondering along the beach area. 

settings: Canon 7D Mark ii, Canon 10-18mm, focal length 10mm, f/5, 1/160, iso 160. Portrait of a Swimmer by Stanley Harper

I guess this shoot was a primer for Costa Rica as the inside pool was humid also, but nothing like Costa Rica.  This particular image is a two shot process. One shot for the pool background, and one shot of the swimmer.  I used my Yongnou 560-IV flash with a white, shoot through umbrella.  Since I was by myself, I was photographer and assistant.  The camera is on a tripod and I trigger the shutter and use the timer to get into position.  Even though it might sound difficult, it is pretty easy to pull off.   For processing, I blend the two images together, and then I utilize Topaz Detail and Nik Color Efex to give the image the gritty feel.   Pentax K-5 II, 1/100", f/5.6, ISO 400, 18mm.

Steinway Portrait by Mark Morris

This wide-angle portrait was taken last month in the ‘seasoning room’ at the Steinway Factory.  In other words, it was about 100 degrees in there.  My model, Elizabeth, was such a trooper!  I have never considered myself an expert at posing, but I have studied it a bit, both with courses by Lindsay Adler, and with some mentoring work with Erica Coffman, an Ohio based wedding/portrait photographer.  The goal here was to accentuate her curves, and create a nice waistline.  In terms of settings, it was SUPER dark in there, so I was pushing the ISO.  There is just one fluorescent light on a hanging fixture, up above.   No OCF or any other lighting ‘help.’  I was there to shoot the factory equipment/workers, and this was just an impromptu little portrait session that happened spontaneously. 


camera: 5D Mark IV

ISO: 3200

lens: Canon 24-70 2.8L II (at 24mm)

aperture: f/3.5

shutter speed: 1/125


1 fluorescent light hanging from the ceiling, no flash


This image was not processed in the manner which I normally process photos.  The grunginess of the room and the weird 'vibe' of the space really lead me in a different direction.  I took the photo into photoshop, where I used a color look-up table.  If you haven't used a look-up table (Fuji ETERNA 250D Kodak 2395), it's not entirely unlike a filter one would use in Instagram.  From there I did some very basic adjusting, and then round-tripped back to Lightroom, where I added a decent bit of noise reduction.

Wide Angle Love by Aaron Grubb

A wide angle engagement photo of a couple in an abandoned building.

After meeting this couple, I really wanted to do something a little different for them. I knew about this rundown old barn in the middle of nowhere where we could create a real dramatic effect. The contrast of the beautiful couple with the backdrop of urban decay almost made it feel post-apocalyptic. Long lenses are great for most portraits, but sometimes, there is no better way to add drama to a scene than to use an ultra-wide lens. Also, I wanted to capture as much of the barn as possible while emphasizing the size of the area we were in. I could have used natural light, but they would have been darker than I would have liked. I would have had to do a lot more post-processing. Plus, when you’re teasing out the details from the shadows, the subjects don’t always look that great. I decided to set up a speedlight on a lightstand, diffused by a 60” umbrella. Not only would it properly illuminate the couple, but it would add clarity and drama to the photo. Right after I took this photo, a very slight wind knocked over the light and my flash broke off of the stand. Luckily, the damage only amounted to about $15, so it could have been far worse.

Camera: Canon 6D

Lens: Tokina 16-28mm f2.8

Aperture: f5

Focal Length: 16mm

Shutter Speed: 1/160

ISO: 800

Other Equipment: 1 Speedlight With Westcott 60” umbrella, camera left

Now it's your turn! Share 3 of your best wide angle portraits on Instagram, with the hashtag #photographerscoop_WAP by August 21/17, for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media. 

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