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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What a telephoto does...

is, well, we've pretty much covered it. If you want to make something look big - reach for the telephoto. If you want to make two things which are actually quite far apart from each other look close - reach for the long lens. And if you want to make it looks like there's a large group of people all packed in together really tightly - zoom in as far as you can go.

Just one last thing I'd like to warn you about when using your long lens. Be very careful of your backgrounds. Because these lenses compress things so much objects that look quite small to the naked eye will appear quite large in the viewfinder and become nearly the most important part of the composition.

Take the dancers up above. I was originally standing to the left of the white male dancers and when I looked through the long lens there was a big empty street behind them, the women dancers weren't in the frame. It looked as if these guys were all by their lonesome when in actual fact it was a mass duet.

So I walked to the right so that the women would form my new background. When using a telephoto lens you're often paying more attention to the background than you are the actual subject. With many things you can't actually change the position of the subject (I couldn't exactly yell out to those guys to shift it a couple of feet to the left!) but you can change your background merely by moving yourself left, right, up or down.

Try it next time you have the long lens on. Take a shot as you first see the subject and then see if you can't move around to get a better background.

Now that we've done telephotos to death we'll move on to wide-angles next week and by the time we've finished that you should know just which lens to reach for every time. :) I hope you all have a great weekend and see you next week.

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