Alicia Jeanne Photography | Shooting Wide & Dealing with Lens Distortion

Shooting Wide & Dealing with Lens Distortion

January 09, 2017  •  1 Comment

I've been wanting a wide angle lens for a while now, and when I started to notice the inferior quality of my kit lens in my magazine photos, I decided that it was time. Armed with Amazon gift cards from my birthday and Christmas, I began my search, and I found the affordable Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 prime lens. 

Rokinon Ultra Wide 14mm, f/2.8


It was love at first sight, as it always is when I get a new lens. I started using it right away.


One of the very first shots with my new lens. Poncho is such a great model.


Naturally, I wanted to run around town with my new baby and test her out, but I also had work to do. My husband and I ventured out of the apartment to my favorite coffee spot in San Marcos with our laptops, got a couple of drinks, then sat on the patio enjoying the oddly warm January Sunday.


My favorite coffee spot in San Marcos, and my first outdoor shot with my new wide angle lens.


About 20 minutes before sunset, we headed up to the highest point in North County San Diego, Double Peak Park. Of course, there were tons of people there waiting for sunset, but it wasn't as spectacular as it usually is due to the clouds rolling in. Still, I wanted to see how the lens worked with landscapes. I was not disappointed.


The highest point in North County San Diego. You can see Catalina Island and Downtown San Diego.

View to the south, towards San Diego. The sky was the prettiest in this direction, and I love the composition with the new housing strip. View towards the ocean to the West. The big water tank isn't the best thing, but I decided to work with it since I couldn't avoid it.


Once I was done at Double Peak Park, we headed towards home, but not before a quick stop at the fountain and clock tower in San Elijo.


I love how much of the environment the lens allows you to take in. A better composition of the fountain.


One thing I was nervous about when I decided to get a wide angle lens was the lens distortion it would cause. I've become more aware of it since I've been doing more product work recently, and I was afraid it would make editing more troublesome. Luckily, I was able to find the correct lens profile online so my time in Lightroom and Photoshop remained the same. 

If you're not a hardcore photography nerd, you may be asking what lens distortion is. It happens when the field of view of the lens is wider than the camera's sensor, so the image needs to be squeezed to fit. It causes straight lines to be curved. The most obvious kind of lens distortion is vertical distortion. When you are standing in front of a tall building and you look up and take a photo, the photo will cause the lines of the building to converge on one another or make it appears as if the building is leaning. Here are a few before and after examples to further demonstrate the concept.


BeforeThe building is slightly warped out, like a bubble, and is also slightly tilted. AfterI corrected the distortion with a Lens Profile that I downloaded from the internet.










BeforeThe horizon line is a little warped and crooked. AfterAgain, I used the lens profile from the internet, and I straightened the horizon line in Lightroom.













The differences are subtle, but the make a normal image that may seem a little off so much better. 

I can't wait to shoot more with my new wide angle lens. I'm going to a portrait session in about half an hour, so we'll see how it works then, too. 

Until next time!


Melynda Grant(non-registered)
If these photos are the beginning of your work with the wide angle lens, I can't wait to see more and more of your stunning photography!
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