Nov 30, 2017

7 hands-on techniques to master landscape shooting with a telephoto lens

By Martin Rak

Your Award-Winning Tutor

Behind every photo is a set of skills and techniques you need to acquire in order to harness the right energy you want your picture to give off.

And shooting with a long lens can be a real struggle - even for advanced photographers. Trust us on that one.

So here is a little rundown of some of the long focal length tips our professional Bohemian Journeys photographers go by that you might find handy to get the hang of it.

1/ Use a heavy and sturdy tripod

First things first - you want to get your camera on a tripod and it should be able to carry at least twice the weight of your heaviest setup. Make sure to set it up properly, level it and tighten all the knobs on the tripod and the head as well. And double check for good measure.

Tuscany cypress alley

2/ Shoot with live view

Mark our words, you want to cut your camera vibrations caused by the mirror down to the minimum. If you have a DSLR, your camera sports a mirror that flips up and down before and after the exposure - this can shake the camera and ruin the sharpness of your image. If you have a mirrorless camera, then you’re in the clear. Because, you know - no mirror, no shaking :-)

Fuji camera display

3/ Always shoot with a remote release

Or a timer to avoid vibrations caused by your hand. Remotes come either in a cable or wireless form. The cable release is better for normal shooting because you don’t need any extra batteries, but if you plan on shooting anything that doesn’t require you to stand behind your camera (self-portraits, wildlife photography), definitely go for the wireless one.

Fuji telephoto lens

4/ Careful with that tripod’s central column!

If your tripod has a central column, refrain from using it. From where we stand, it dramatically reduces the stability of the whole setup since the camera sits just on the one column, and in the long run even a gentle breeze can seriously hurt the quality of your images.

Telephoto lens shooting

5/ Make use for lens collar

Whenever possible, use the lens collar (not the camera body) to attach your camera to the tripod to get a good balance on your setup. Long telephoto lenses tend to be much heavier compared to the camera body; so if you attach the camera to the tripod head it could weigh the setup down or even send the whole thing tumbling down. And you don’t want that.

Nikon telephoto lens

6/ If it is windy, get as low as you can

Simply put - the less tripod sections, the more stability. You can also block the setup with your body (unless the wind is blowing against the camera, of course ;-)).

And if that doesn’t help, put the camera on your backpack and balance it with a piece of clothing such as a jacket, hat or gloves… whatever’s at hand. Just keep a low profile in the lee, and you’ll be cool.

Low tripod telephoto lens

7/ If the wind is strong, switch image stabilization on

The general rule when shooting off a tripod is to switch the image stabilization off, BUT if it gets real windy and you spot any shakes when looking through the viewfinder, it’s about time to switch the stabilization ON to get your pictures looking tack sharp.

Telephoto lens detail

Enjoyed the read? Don’t worry, we will spare no effort to fork some more your way. In the meantime, feel free to check out our upcoming tours.

Wishing you all the best of shooting light, and may your spirit for photography keeps you in full focus at all times.

Landscape Photography Masterclass

Master Your Photography Skills!

Discover new shooting techniques, learn about post-production strategies, and listen to interviews with renowned landscape photographers, all designed to take your photography to the next level.