What Is Lens Compression And How To Use It In Your Images?

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what is Lens Compression

When you are talking about photography or, better yet, exploring it, it is safe to say that you are going to come across various terms and elements that will surely intrigue you.

However, not all of these elements are there for you to learn, as some of them do not even apply to the style of photography that you are into.

One such term that you are likely to come across is lens compression, and while I do understand that this term is, to begin with, some people genuinely have troubles.

So, let’s go ahead and break down everything you need to know about lens compression so everyone can have a better understanding.

What Exactly Is Lens Compression In Photography?

Understanding lens compression is not at all difficult. But you have to understand the basics about it, as well. After all, without the proper understanding, you might not be able to fully grasp the concept, right.

For those wondering, lens compression is simply a phenomenon of background elements appearing larger than their actual size.

Lens Compression effect
Image Credits: Joshua Gray YT

This results in a distorted scene since the background elements are now appearing much closer and also larger than they are in real life. However, you have to understand that just because they are distorted does not mean that it is a bad thing.

Why is it so? Well, a lot of photographers, both professionals, and hobbyists, are known to use lens compression to add a dramatic effect in their pictures, and more often than not, it actually works really well.

So, if you have been wanting to learn more about this and you want to be certain that there is everything covered, keep reading on.

Focal Length And Lens Compression

Moving forward, we are going to start reading more about focal length and lens compression, as well as how these things work. After all, it is important to make a note of the fact that, more often than not, these work in tandem with each other. Let’s have a look.

When you are shooting with a wide-angle lens, a lot of things are going to happen. As you are shooting from a closer distance to your object, objects that are closer to you will appear a lot larger than objects that are placed at a distance.

This is also the reason why wide-angle lenses are not flattering enough when they are used for taking portraits because part of the subject’s face, like their nose, are closer to the camera and will look a lot larger as compared to other parts like their eyes or their ears which will look a lot smaller.

How Can You Achieve Lens Compression?

Now that we have learned the basics of lens compression, the next thing to look at is just how you can achieve it. Aside from the camera that you are going to need, we need a lens that has a focal length equivalent of at least 100mm.

image of a girl with camera

However, if you want to achieve lens compression without using a zoom lens, you can achieve the same effect simply by cropping in the image. Lens compression is an effect or an optical illusion, so creating it is not something that is difficult.

However, aside from just creating the optical illusion, the important thing is that you fully understand how it works. Rest assured, if you want to achieve a lens compression effect with a basic setup, it is something that is entirely possible and does not require a lot of patience either.

You Can Use Lens Compression Creatively

The next thing that we are going to look into is just how you can go ahead and use lens compression creatively. Simply put, this is something that happens a number of times, and it is never a thing that is just going to create difficulties for you because, in all honesty, it is one of the easiest to pull off.

With that said, if you are looking to go ahead and use lens compression in a creative manner, the best thing is that the process is rather simple.

A good camera and a good lens that has zoom capabilities are normally all you need. You can also use a prime lens and then crop into the image, but that is something that is entirely subjective.

The point here is that as far as the creative perspective is concerned, that is entirely on you and the way you want to use lens compression.

If you want to use it to give your pictures a more creative edge, you can easily go ahead and do so because the floor is all yours. However, do not make your images look out of perspective by messing around too much.

Which Camera Settings Work Best For Lens Compression?

A lot of times, people have asked us about the type of settings they should use when it comes to lens compression, and honestly, the answer is a lot simpler than one might think. The two things that you are going to need most importantly are your lens’ zoom capability and the aperture.

Once you have these things in order, the whole idea of creating a lens compression effect becomes a lot simpler and straightforward, to be honest.

There are not going to be any complications in the process, and you will be able to create the type of lens compression you want without any complications.

Again, it is not something that you will know right away, so it does take some time and effort.

Do Lens Compression Filters Really Work?

Honestly, the term lens compression filter or lens compression, for that matter, is something that is a bit of controversial.

You see, there are a lot of people that will tell you all about how to achieve it, but in most of the cases, lens compression has a lot to do with the way you compose a photo and the distance you have from the subject, for that matter.

It might not be something that is immediately noticed, but if done correctly, it can make a lot of difference.


I fully understand just how confusing lens compression can be for a lot of people to understand because, simply put, the concept is not easy to grasp by a lot of people, but the best part is that if you truly are willing to learn, it is not something that is going to make things difficult. You just have to know what it means, how it works, and how to recreate that effect should you wish to use it.

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