Using a Telephoto Lens to Compress an Image

When I started in photography, my camera came with the kit lens 75-300 mm. Everytime I used this lens, the images were terrible. I would zoom in on a scene and take the photo. This worked great when I go to the Palouse for the wide landscape images that are known for the region. I purchased a Tamron 70-200 mm G2 lens thinking that if I had a better lens I would use it more.

One great aspect of the telephoto lens is for image compression. Once I figured this out, I started using my 70-200 mm lens a lot more. What I mean by image compression is the ability to bring the background close to the foreground. The lens does not really compress the image, but gives the illusion of compression. You can get the same affect using a wide angle lens if you crop the image to match the image taken with a telephoto lens. However, you have to leave the tripod in the same location used with the telephoto lens when using the wide angle. By doing this, the subject and background appear far away so when you crop the photo, they appear close to each other. Cropping the photo causes image quality issues so it's better to use the telephoto and not crop.

You can see in the images below, the distance from the subjects to the Space Needle appears to change while the subjects stay close to the the same size. These were hand held shots at Kerry Park so the size of the subject is a bit different. The image on the left was taken at 70 mm and the image on the right at 200 mm.

Just remember to move back from your subject when using the telephoto lens. This is what I really struggled with as well. I would put the telephoto on my camera and stay in the same location as when I would use my 16-35 or 24-70 lens. This does not work. You must move back for the lens to work properly. 

When using a telephoto without a tripod, remember the shutter speed must be at least the same as your shutter speed. It is preferred to be at least double. If you are zoomed in at 200 mm, the shutter speed would be 1/200 sec but preferable at 1/400 sec. This may require increasing the ISO or changing the aperture depending on what depth of field you need or want.

So, for a change in your photography, put on the telephoto and get out there and practice. See what you can do with it and what the limitations are. Here is the Amazon Affiliate link to the lens I use. Tamron 70-200 G2. 

Most importantly, fill the frame with what like and have fun.