Photography is so much more than capturing moments or making a model look attractive. It is a language on its own. Known to be one of the most popular channels for creativity, photography is fun and can be done on some level, by anyone. Casual photos can be taken with your smartphone while professional ones are taken using DSLR cameras. Both types have the zoom feature.
When used properly, the zoom feature can help you take amazing shots. It also comes in handy when dealing with scenes that don’t allow you to move closer – like wildlife photography. Here are some tips on how to perform zoom photography the right way.
Zoom Photography Tip #1
All you will ever need
Did you know that your zoom lens is all you need to carry when going out on a photo expedition? When you are flying, camping or hiking, it can be very difficult to carry along a lot of equipment. Not only is it bulky, but camera equipment is very delicate. So it requires extra care when traveling over long distances.
To avoid the risk of damaging your precious equipment, simply carry your zoom lens. It will do the job of two or even three focal length or prime lenses. By manipulating your zoom lens in your photography, you can take close, mid-range or distance shots. Therefore, pack light and don’t forget your zoom lens when traveling.
Zoom Photography Tip #2
How to be the silent observer
Sometimes, you may want to take photos without being noticed. This can be in a case where your subject could easily be startled and fly or run away. Also, it could be a case where you want to capture the emotion of a situation without alerting the people interacting in it. In such cases, a zoom lens is your best friend. It allows you to stand, sit or balance at a distance to take these shots. This lens helps you to be the silent observer and capture rare moments.
However, remember to ask the permission of any people you do not know if they are your subject.
Zoom Photography Tip #3
Alter perspective to your advantage
One of the characteristics of zooming in is that it alters the perspective of a photo. Whenever you zoom into a group of subjects or just one, the individual features in the photo look closer than they actually are. As such, the perspective is altered. To use this effect to your advantage, you can use the zoom lens to capture portraits. The perspective will be altered and cause the facial features to look closer together hence reducing the significance of, for example, the nose in the picture. As a result, zoom photography can make the subject look prettier and more delicate.
Zoom Photography Tip #4
Don’t push your zoom lens to its extreme
Every zoom lens has a particular range. The larger the range, the more effective it can zoom. Examples of ranges include 70 – 200mm and 75 – 300mm. To capture a sharp image, you should ensure that you set the zoom lens high but not at its maximum range. For example, if you are using a 75 – 300mm zoom lens, you can take your sharpest images at 280mm. While there is no indicated sharpness range level for every zoom lens in the market, a little experimentation can help you find the sharpness sweet spot.
For more expansive guide to photography, check out part I and part II of our guide to photography from amateur to professional.
Zoom Photography Tip #5
It’s all in the fingers
Probably the most important part of any camera is the shutter button. Not all photographers know that your motion of pressing this button contributes to the quality of your final shot. While taking photos, many of us press the button with tremendous force. This shouldn’t be the case, especially with a zoom lens. This is because the force will torque your camera at the moment when the picture is being recorded. This can distort it and ruin a perfect shot. Therefore, use the right movement when pressing the button. Simply roll your finger back across the shutter button to take photographs. This activates it with as little force as possible. As a result, your zoom photography shots will emerge perfectly with no blur.
Zoom Photography Tip #6
Reduce your ISO
To make dimly lit scenes more clear, photographers rely on the ISO feature. While it is very effective in bring in out the characteristics of your subject in low lighting, this feature should not be used extensively with a zoom lens. ISO functions by increasing the noise in your photos. Doing this with the zoom lens reduces their clarity. Therefore, if you find that your subject is not well lit while taking a zoom photo, simply use the flash or move to a well-lit spot. In this way, you can preserve the detail in your eventual shot.
Last but not least Tip #7
Try out the zoom effect
Have you ever seen a photo where the subject seems to be surrounded by houses, animals or vehicles that seem to be in motion towards or away from you? This sort of picture is normally taken with a feature known as the zoom effect. It adds motion lines to the foreground or background of a photo. They can improve the dramatic effect of a photo that you have taken.
How can you achieve the zoom effect? Simply begin by slowing down the shutter speed of your camera to ensure longer exposure. After that, zoom in or out as you take the photo. With a few tries and practice, you can learn the perfect timing required to create mesmerizing zoomed shots full of motion and drama. While taking this sort of photo, ensure that your camera is perfectly still. A long exposure captures every detail and is significantly affected by movement. A little vibration in the camera, while the shutter is open, can negatively alter the final shot. Therefore, ensure that your body, arms, and hands are stable when taking a shot with the zoom effect. A remote shutter release will definitely come in handy at this point if you are not proficient with setting your shutter speed.
Thanks to zoom photography, we can take shots that are clear, dramatic and full of emotion without having to be in their midst! The zoom lens helps us to get much closer to our subjects and avoid disturbing the scene where necessary. With the tips indicated above, you can take perfect zoomed-in shots. Apply them in your photography to wow your audience and capture your subjects like never before. Remember to bring your creativity, you will need it now more than ever!