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Photography

How to Use Focal Length and Field of View to Compose Better Photographs

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You're ready to photograph a scene, everything is all set up, but you have to choose a lens to use. How do you know which one is right?

 

You might already know that focal length is identified on each lens, typically in millimeters or "mm", such as an 85mm portrait lens. But what does that actually mean?

When it comes to choosing your lenses, don't get caught up in the features: In fact, the focal length of the lens influences the look and feel of an image more than any factor other than your film or sensor, arguably even more.

Check out the video lesson above to learn more about focal length and field of view to help you understand lenses will fit in your lineup.

Field of view crop factor example

Watch the Full Course

The best piece of advice that I received when I started photography is that you should really invest more in lenses than a camera body. Lenses can typically be carried forward form one body to the next, as long as you aren't switching systems.

So, what should you look for when choosing a lens? The perfect complement to that advice is the course What Every Photographer Should Know About Lenses. Not all lenses are created equally, and I'll teach you what to look for as you begin to build out your own lens lineup.

Check out these other lessons that will help you learn to understand lenses:

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