What is telephoto lens photography?
Learn more about telephoto photography and how to take your photography skills to the next level with a telephoto lens.
Telephoto lenses are incredibly useful in a wide variety of photography niches, allowing you to capture crisp, dynamic shots at a considerable distance. Whether you want to explore wildlife photography or take better portraits, there’s a telephoto lens that can take your skills to the next level.
What is a telephoto lens?
In a nutshell, a telephoto lens makes objects appear closer to the camera than they really are. This is especially helpful if a physical barrier prevents you from getting close to your subject, or in cases when it might not be safe to do so — like in wildlife photography.
From a creative standpoint, these lenses can create a beautiful contrast between a clear subject and a significantly blurry background.
Common telephoto lenses and their uses.
Just like other types of lenses, a telephoto lens mounts to the body of your SLR or DSLR camera. A wide range of lens distances is available. Here are some standard options:
- 70-200mm: This lens offers wide versatility, allowing you to capture subjects that are not too far away (70mm) to ones at a greater distance (200mm).
- 85mm: A popular choice among portrait photographers, this lens creates a nicely blurred background and flattering shots without distortion.
- 100-400mm: Ideal for sports and wildlife, this type of telephoto gives you crisp, clear shots in scenarios where you don’t want to get too close to the subject.
- 135mm: This lens has the same shallow depth of field as an 85mm for creating flattering portraits, but allows you to shoot at further distances. This is ideal for wedding photography.
- 600mm and above: A must-have for wildlife photography when capturing subjects at an extreme distance.
Many photography shops allow day rentals, so you can try various lengths before you purchase. As you begin experimenting with telephoto lenses, discover more photography tips and techniques to try.