Simply put, wide-angle photography is capturing a wide field of view using the wide-angle setting of your zoom lens. The opposite of wide-angle is telephoto. You zoom in for telephoto, and zoom out for wide angle. The ocean is an expansive world, and to capture its full breadth you'll find wide-angle photography indispensable.
The photos that follow show how a wider-angle lens can emphasize the foreground and provide more drama than a lens with a longer focal length. Each pair of photos shows the same subject.
Notice the difference between the 35mm lens (slightly wide-angle) and the 28mm lens (full wide-angle). The 28mm lens can fit the full subject easily into the frame. It emphasizes the foreground, magnifying the front of the subject for close inspection, and diminishes the background so that it falls off in dramatic contrast to the subject up front. It adds a sense of perspective to the image. A digital camera with a powerful wide-angle lens (a short focal length) offers more expressive ways of shooting your subjects.
A wide-angle lens can capture wider images within the confines of a photo, but to do so it has to shrink the elements of the image. You may notice this when you take a picture of a subject in the distance. Viewing it later, you see that the subject came out smaller than you expected.
Angle of view measures the amount of a scene you can fit into the frame of your viewfinder from a single distance. The wider the angle of view, the more of a scene you can fit into your picture. In the images below, the framed image on the left has a narrower angle of view than the framed image on the right, which has a wider angle of view.
One of the greatest advantages of wide-angle photography is the ability to capture a wide area in a single photo. If this were the only benefit, though, wide-angle would only be useful for photographing scenery like coral reefs or large animals such as manta rays and whale sharks.
The same school of fish shown earlier, this time getting closer with a wide-angle lens.
The wide-angle lens makes the foreground jump out for a more dramatic photo. It gives an enhanced feeling of depth and height.
"Wide macro" sounds like a contradiction in terms. Wide photography captures big scenes; macro photography captures tiny details. How can you do both at the same time? By moving close to your subject with a wide-angle lens.
Wide macro gives your photos an enhanced sense of space. A good wide macro photo goes beyond what you can see with your own eyes, adding an extra feeling of width, depth, volume, and close-up impact. Use it as a powerful tool to capture faces and other prominent subjects.
Let's review wide-angle photography: