Keys to Using a Telephoto Lens for Portraits - dummies

By Robert Correll

Normally, you wouldn’t use a 300mm lens to take portraits, but you might be caught by surprise if you had been using the lens to take photos of something else. The photographer used a mid-range Nikon dSLR with a nice 300mm telephoto lens for the photo shown here. This shot was taken using shutter-priority mode at 300mm, f/4, 1/1000 second, and ISO 200.

The photo of the young man in the image turned out really nice. This was a posed shot —nothing spontaneous about it. He is sharply focused and well lit. The natural late-afternoon light is not casting any harsh shadows. The background is very nicely blurred. The photographer stood well back from him and used a monopod to support the camera and heavy lens. It’s a keeper.

Keys to this photo:

  • Posed and framed using portrait orientation.
  • Relaxed composition that features plenty of background.
  • Natural late afternoon light.
  • Great lens produced awesome bokeh.
Telephoto lenses create amazing bokeh.