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  • Ellie Mayner

Why the Long Face?

'View life as if you are using a wide angle lens and you will see your horizons widen'

This week my newest lens addition has arrived and it is a 10-20mm Stigma lens for those who may be interested! I took it out on a test run while the sun was out and of course the first place I went was to the horses! But I wanted to be more creative and try something new, which the nature of a wide angle lens allowed me to do. These photos are very different to my 'normal' style of portrait photography and pushed me out of my comfort zone, which actually resulted in some really charming photographs.

My approach for these photographs was to get as close to the ground as possible, I wanted the wide-angle nature of the lens to elongate the horse’s legs and heads, this provides a whole new style of image. Also, the lens allows you to be able to capture the whole animal and create a depth of field including the ground and sky. These photos are also very natural, the horses are just grazing in the field (when they weren’t sticking their noses in my camera bag!) and I think it adds more character to the images.

When you are taking photographs of animals a lot of you with pets will know they can be very difficult to keep still, meaning you often end up with some hilarious and not very flattering photographs! But with this lens my aim was to capture the awkward and funny photos, such as the image with the carrot. This photo is more unusual and will stand out in my own portfolio of work, as it is very different to the classic head-shot. Often when working for clients you want to get the best-looking photo you can, and therefore the animal has to be posed and looking beautiful (lots of jumping around and waving your hands in-front of horses). But this photograph is of one of our own ponies, which allowed me to be less of a perfectionist and create a fun and quite charming photograph.

Some of the images I found I had taken, when in post-production looked a little scary, you won’t always capture the ‘perfect’ image when out on a shoot, this is why I end up taking hundreds! When taking natural photographs, you have to patient and snap lots of photos just to capture that one moment on camera that does not seem forced and has the largest emotional impact. You may end up with the majority of the images looking like this one of Midnight (who shook her head each time the shutter clicked) and as funny as it might be, it is not the photo you were looking for. You may only ever get one ‘perfect’ photo and a collection of other lovely ones surrounding it, but that’s all part of the fun working with animals.

I edited these photographs in both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, honestly with the weather being so nice and the sharp focus and depth of field this lens provided, some images only needed cropping and a little bit of saturation or exposure increased. I wanted to keep the slight warping that the 10mm caused as it adds to the character I was looking to achieve with these photos, so I tried not to crop the images too much. Editing is a big part of the process, and it can take a really long time if you are like me and take far too many photos, therefore you need to make sure you enjoy it. Luckily, I enjoy all the photo-shoots I carry out and this leads to me enjoying the editing process as I am always excited to see how they turned out!

I want to finish off with my favourite photo of the day, this image I have already posted on my social media pages and it has caught the attention of some of my clients. Some have asked me to take photographs in this style for them, which I am really happy about as this was a deviation from my traditional style of portrait photography and was something I had not tried before. This means I can carry on practising and pushing my creativity with the wide-angle lens and make the most of using it to capture funny and charming photographs. If you are looking to be creative or develop your own photography skills further then I recommend just switching up your lens on your camera to something different, a wide angle or a macro lens are often a good idea, Go out and take photographs of things you are familiar photographing and see how you style of work can change. Those who don't have a camera, if you have an iPhone 11 'Pro' or a more recent model you may have a telephoto lens on your phone, take some photos of your pets using this, if you are looking to capture images like mine above you don't need a professional camera to do so you can do it at home on your phone!

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