A telephoto lens is a lens with a focal length longer than 70 mm. If it has a focal length between 70 and 200 mm, a lens is considered a medium telephoto lens and if it has a focal length longer than 200 mm it’s considered a super-telephoto lens.
A telephoto lens magnifies your subjects and makes them appear closer than they are. It’s a great advantage when you photograph subjects that are far away. But telephoto lenses come with some drawbacks: they cover a narrow field of view, emphasize camera shakes, and blur the background.
So when is a good moment to use a telephoto lens? And how can you make sure you’ll take better pictures? Here’s how you can improve your photos by using a lens with a long focal length.
Use telephoto lenses for nature photography
When you have a very shy subject it’s better to keep a safe distance and photograph it using a telephoto lens. Nature and wildlife photographers use super-telephoto lenses to take pictures of birds and animals. To avoid camera shake, use a solid tripod and a remote shutter release.
Use telephoto lenses for portraiture
With a telephoto lens, you can take amazing close-ups of a person. You can go beyond portrait photographs and create artistic photos that emphasize your subject’s features. Telephoto lenses will blur the background, allowing you to focus on what’s really important. They also flatter the skin and smooth imperfections.
There are other benefits in using a telephoto lens for portraits: flash won’t be so harsh and you’ll avoid awkward shadows and red-eye pictures; you can take pictures with a busy background because it will be automatically blurred; you’ll have more relaxed and calmer subjects if you keep a good distance between them and the camera; you can take candid photos, which is great for children photography.
Photo by Tom Swinnen on Unsplash
Use telephoto lenses to bring closer far away subjects
You can use telephoto lenses to photograph landmarks without diminishing their importance. It’s a good method to get rid of unwanted items in your frame, such as tourists, souvenir selling points, and buildings. It’s also a good method to photograph architectural and design details.
If you need a shallower depth of field, use the smallest aperture possible or move farther away from your subject.
Photo by Mika Brandt on Unsplash
Telephoto lenses are a great tool for any photographer and you can always find them a use. From abstract shots to vast landscape sceneries, telephoto lenses give you a different way to see the world and inspire your creativity. You may want to invest in a lens with a wider range of focal length such as 50 – 200 mm and 70 – 300 mm lenses. They provide you with enough room to explore and come up with amazing photos.
Cover photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash