Once upon a time I thought all camera lens were created equal. I was happy with my standard lens that came with the body, and snapped away thinking that some of the not-so-great photos which resulted – were my fault. ‘If only I were a professional’ I often wished.
Then, as my skills and knowledge grew, I was introduced to the different lenses on the market and developed my own lens wish-list with some purchases.
Then, I recently got my first telephoto lens, a Canon luxury Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens. Game changer!
You will fall in love with a telephoto lens if you enjoy photographing sporting events, nature and animals, landscapes, and even children’s plays, concerts etc. I got some beautiful photos when photographing a cheerleading competition with my telephoto lens.
I was able to capture the excitement of my kids sledding, without putting myself in harms way right in front of them on the hill. As well, I caught a nervous smile on my daughters face, from the far side of the school gymnasium, when she was the lead character in a musical performance.
Having a telephoto lens will place you in the middle of the action, without moving you from your seat or too close to your subject. You can literally be apart of the event, even if you are physically far away.
Yet, there are some things to keep in mind when using a telephoto lens.
Here are my Tips and Tricks for Using a Telephoto Zoom Lens when it comes to stabilization and where to focus:
- Stabilize Your Image
When using a telephoto zoom lens, because of their length they can be difficult to hold steady for even the stillest of hands. Try these techniques to stabilize the camera for a clear and crisp image. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Brace Yourself
- If you are on the go and do not have the below items available to you, try to brace yourself against a wall or table of sorts so that there is as little movement as possible when you focus and snap your photo.
- Whenever possible you should use a tripod when using a zoom lens of any type. Many people prefer to shoot freehand without a tripod for easy movement, however, you are going to notice very blurry images with these lenses when shooting freehand. Using a tripod will stabilize the camera on its own so that images come out well-focused.
- Shutter Release
- Even when on a tripod, your hand pressing the shutter button causes movement that the sensors will pick up. You can purchase a shutter release remote inexpensively online. They offer ones with cords, as well as wireless battery operated shutter release remotes. Using this in unison with a tripod will allow for even more stabilization with your camera and lens. Simply plug it in, or pair it with your camera and you now control the shutter from the touch of a button while not touching your camera.
- Using the Image Stabilization Option
- On many zoom lenses there will be a “stabilization” button, similar to the auto focus/manual focus button. It’s a good idea to keep this on while holding the camera to take photos, however if you are using a tripod you may want to turn this off. The sensors used to detect movement and stabilize the camera can actually incorrectly detect movement and create a not so sharp image when on a tripod. For the best images with a tripod, keep it off. When using it without it being still, rather in your hand or on the go, keep it on.
- Isolate your subject
When using a zoom lens you want to be sure that you do not have too much excess background in the image. Crop your subject in with the least amount of background as possible when focusing your camera. Taking an image from too far back may result in an image in just decent focus rather than a closer image that is crisp and well-focused. Isolating your subject in the frame will allow for a sharper, closer and more powerful image.
Do you have a telephoto lens? Share your experience!