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Focal Length >

17.5 - Volume & Background

Most photographers use focal length in only one way.

They zoom back-and-forth to compose their photographs.

That's great.

But, you can use focal length in two other ways.

You can change the volume of the subject.

And, you can move the background further away and closer.

Volume

In the first pair of photographs, compare how the leaves in the lower-left corner, and the broken branch in the middle, look in each photograph.

Click on the photographs to enlarge them.

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18mm - Wide Angle

Click Photograph to Enlarge

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70mm - Telephoto

Click Photograph to Enlarge

Note how the leaves and branch seem to be sticking out more, in the top photograph.

This is because a wide-angle focal length was used.

In the bottom photograph, using a telephoto focal length, the leaves and branch are closer together.

The photograph is flatter.

Background

Below, the same fallen tree was photographed from the side.

In the top photograph, the road is further away.

This is because a wide-angle focal length was used.

In the bottom photograph, the road is closer because a telephoto focal length was used.

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18mm - Wide Angle

Click Photograph to Enlarge

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70mm - Telephoto

Click Photograph to Enlarge

For another example, go to More from Your Zoom.