East Grinstead photographer and filmmaker Nitsan Simantov. Wedding photography and commercial video production in London and West Sussex.

Ultra wide angle rectilinear lenses - Easily unstrech faces

We've probably all see those unflattering stretched faces when shooting with ultra wide angle rectilinear lenses like the Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f2.8, the Canon 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 or the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. (rectilinear means a non-fisheye wide angle lens which is designed to create straight lines in the image)

This trick is demonstrated with still images, but it should work just as well in video too, although of course it may end up a little different depending on the editor you use, but if you really need to then it's easy to import a video into Photoshop, although it will take extra rendering time.

So lets take a look at the first image.

Shot on a 5D Mark III and Samyang 14mm f2.8

As you can see, it does not look nice, not at all. We have stretched/squished faces in the sides of the image. So what can we do?

We can add the distortion back into it.

Same image, with some distortion added.

You can do this in seconds using Lightroom or Phohoshop's 'Camera Raw' in the 'Lens Corrections' Tab. Just drag the distortion bar as much as you see is needed. I'm not sure if it will be completely perfect for every camera and lens combo, but it sure does make a huge improvement.

Now of course we do end up with a bit of a squished building in the background, but in my opinion that is not at all unattractive when the shot is "telling a story" about people, not about the building. If I was shooting architecture then I would not be adding this distortion of course. The image is now slightly less wide, but that is a small price to pay for nicer looking people. In my opinion, between the two, the one with the added distortion looks a hundred times better.