What does shooting wide mean?
Basically, you shoot with a wide angle lens, getting a lot of the scene/environment into your image.
A 'wide angle lens' would be something less than maybe 40mm. If your lens is an 18-55mm lens, the lower numbers are the widest part of your lens' range. 25mm is wider than shooting at 50mm.
When you shoot with a wide angle lens, you have the opportunity to include a lot of the environment around your subject in your photo. You can include the sky, ground, and a lot of space around your subject, giving it a more whole feel.
If your lens doesn't zoom, and you can't change the focal length, then move your feet! Scoot way back and let your subject breathe that way. I am often shooting with a prime lens, which means I only have 1 focal length and my lens doesn't zoom. So my feet are often my zoom.
Now, I know I have mentioned multiple times about getting close to your subject and filling the frame with them. Focusing close on things like fingers, eye lashes, and other small and delicate features. I LOVE to shoot that way, and I do the majority of the time. But there are instances where shooting wide and giving your subjects room to breathe is the best course of action.
One of the benefits of shooting wide and including a lot of the environment is that these types of photos often look great as a big wall print or canvas. If you were to make a huge canvas print of a close up photo, it might look overpowering, or you might get sick of it faster than you would if you had shot wide. When you shoot wide, you create more of a story, more of a sense of time and place. The photo can have a more timeless feel, and chances are, you'll be happy with it for a lot longer than you might be otherwise.
Let's look at these examples below:
This first photo is up close and personal, like I usually love to shoot. I'm focusing on his smile, his little baby teeth, and his cute shirt. Great photos, yes. Awesome in an album, in a frame, on your dresser, lots of places. But if you blew this up into a 20x30 wall canvas and hung it above your couch, it may not create a restful and timeless feel in the room.
Stay tuned next Tuesday for another weekly photography tip!