Do You Actually Need a Wide-Angle Lens for Landscape Photography?

Photographer Thomas Heaton States No

British pro Thomas Heaton’s latest video has a provocative title: “Throw Away Your Wide-Angle Lens.” Does he mean? Not really, however does have some point when shooting outdoors.

“Ok, and therefore don’t actually discard your front-facing lens,” Heaton says. “This video has been made to show that not all landscape pictures need to get photographed with a wide-angle lens. Actually, long lenses would be equally effective and have many advantages.”

Heaton says he’s hoping to clear up any misconceptions by novice photographers who might think they need to load their camera bags up having glass that is wide-angle to take landscapes. Heaton admits that he was the exact same way long ago, saying his initial hand-held lens was the Sigma 10-20mm. But his strategy differs today.

“If you truly wish to explore the landscape and get more out of your photography and begin to pick out various pictures and compositions within the bigger landscape, then you will need to be reaching a long lens,” Heaton says.

His argument is that if you’re capturing a scenic vista with, as an example, a 16-35mm lens, then you’re likely to get “pretty much 1 picture” out of it, namely a nice wide-angle picture shot.

“The trick with landscape pictures is to really look at the landscape and ask yourself this question: Why am I photographing this? What exactly is it that you like? Is it this mountain in the far distance there? Is it the clouds that are gorgeous? Can it be the light hitting on down the trees in the valley? And what you see is that in the event you ask yourself this question and break out a long lens, then you flip that broad vista from a single large picture into two, three five unique pictures”

Heaton likens it to “being like a sniper and targeting various areas of the landscape.”

Therefore, what is Heaton lens of choice for landscapes? You’ll need to watch the video. Heaton does provide reasons and image examples to describe his selection although you could be surprised.