Six Creative Uses for a Telephoto Lens

There is more to a longer lens than just zooming in to a subject. Geoff Harris explains how to get some top creative effects using your telephoto.

Six Creative Uses for a Telephoto Lens

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Telephoto lenses obviously enable you to shoot subjects that are farther away, but they are useful for all kinds of subjects and creative techniques. Here are six ways to use them creatively.

1. Portraits with attractive background blur

Six Creative Uses for a Telephoto Lens
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While some portrait and travel photographers feel guilty about hiding behind a long lens and not doing everything with a 50mm prime, longer telephoto zooms come in handy for portrait shots. While it’s good to get as close to your subject as you can, this is not always possible. Not only that, but in candid street photography, for example, you don’t always want your subjects to realise that you are taking pictures of them.

Because of this, telephoto zooms are great for picking out interesting-looking people in a crowd, as I did here at the St. Paul’s Carnival in Bristol. Try shooting at a wide aperture as you will get a nice background blur with a telephoto lens. This why sports photographers use long telephoto lenses with a wide maximum aperture of f/2.8, so they can blur out distracting crowds and stadium furniture while keeping the players sharp.