How to Capture In-Action Portraits with a Wide-Angle Lens

One of my favorite engagement photography techniques is getting up close to the subjects with a wide-angle lens. The resulting images feel alive and immersive. In this article and video, I’ll be demonstrating the difference a wide-angle and a telephoto lens can make when capturing action.

I’ll be using the Canon EOS R5 paired with the RF 28-70mm f/2 as well as the RF 70-200 f/2.8. My couple today is Jacob and Ravena — be sure to give them a follow on Instagram. Let’s jump in!

Photographing From Far Away

In order to get the right composition, I photographed my couple from quite far away.

Check out the shots. I love the depth created by the long focal length. However, I notice the lack of foreground and the entire image feels far away. It’s difficult to feel the excitement in the images. Let’s switch it up by trying the same shot with the wide-angle lens.

Getting In the Action

The 24mm and 35mm primes are perfect lenses for this technique. If not, a good wide-angle zoom will work.

To get a similar composition, I had to move up close to my subjects. Already, the scene looks dramatically better.

I directed Ravena to lead Jacob in order to create a sense of direction in the movement as well as depth. Be sure to exercise caution as shooting with a wide lens will require you to walk backwards with your subjects.

Here are the images using the wide-angle lens.

Using the “Dutch Angle”

Images by Lin & Jirsa

The “Dutch Angle” is a technique that’s often overused or cliche. however, I believe it has its place in composition. A slight tilt to the photo helps create an organic and spontaneous feeling. This helps emphasize the feeling of action when photographing your couple.

Check out the images I got using the “Dutch Angle.”


Check out the final image compared to where we first began. The difference is massive. The final images with the wide lens feel so much more in-the-moment and spontaneous. The wider view of the background also helps immerse us more into the action.


I hope you enjoyed this article/video. Next time you’re photographing a couple, give this technique a try! See the difference when you capture your portraits with a wide-angle lens.

P.S. For a full course on photographing couples, check out Engagement Photography 101, available over on SLR Lounge Premium. In addition, check out Visual Flow for intuitive lighting based presets such as the Modern Pack, which we used for our final images.

About the author: Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer based in Southern California and the co-founder of SLR Lounge. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Jirsa’s work on Instagram.