Encouraging Articles

Enhance your vision and style with fresh insights

Get More From Your Tele Lenses

5 easy steps to greater picture impact with your tele lens…


1 Turn On Image Stabilisation – How slow can you go with tele lenses?

Most up to date camera systems provide either ILIS or IBIS (In Lens Image Stabilization or In Body Image Stabilization). The basic system you have is not important, what matters is how well you understand and control it’s capabilities. If your tele lens specification states it provides 5 stops of IS, what does that mean for you in your typical shooting scenarios? The only way to find out is to carry out a test. See how to carry out the “How slow can you go” test. This test will tell you what the slowest shutter speed you can handhold at both ends of your tele zoom. 


2 Select the right shutter speed for the focal length of your tele lens

An old adage in photography was to use 1 over the films ASA rating. The slowest shutter speed was selected by the ASA number (Sensitivity to Light), 1/400 for example. In digital terms insert ISO instead of ASA.


Therefore, If the longest focal length of your zoom lens is say 400mm, the slowest shutter speed to capture a shake free picture is 1/400 with an ISO of 400. There many factors affecting your ability to steadily hand hold a camera. This is the suggested principal, not an absolute.

3 Choose an appropriate shutter speed – what is your intent?

If your intention is to make an interpretation then a shutter speed that blurs the movement is appropriate. You could also try panning and ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) with a shutter speed of say a 1/15 or slower.

You are an individual, you have the right to take and make pictures as you choose. Your role as a photographer is to follow your own creative road. You have to give yourself permission to establish and nurture your own creative vision and style.

As a photographer you have a choice about everything to do with your picture: composition, aperture, shutter speed etc.


If your visual intent is to make a record or narrative picture then a shutter speed that freezes the action may be appropriate.

My preferred tele lens is the Fuji 100mm-400mm with 1.4x Converter.

4 Fill the frame – “Use it or lose it”

The strength of a tele lens is it allows you to fill the frame and remove visual distractions at the taking stage. Thus, increasing the overall impact of the shot. Always have in mind the saying “Use it or lose it”. If there are elements of your picture that are not adding to the composition, leave them out by trying a different framing arrangement.  See the 5 things you should know about framing.

5 Composition – you are the viewers eyes.  

Composition is the art of leaving things out – to quote myself. You cannot include the whole world, you need to be selective through observation about what to leave in or take out of a picture. Think about the essence of the attraction you are recording for the viewer to appreciate. You are the viewers eyes. Read more about attraction and composition


Click on the picture opposite to read more about the Get More Impact With Tour Tele Lenses Workshop 

ABC of CameraWork Core Content

The ABC of CameraWork unravels instantly made Viewfinder decisions to enable you to see photographically



Understanding the reason for taking a picture and sharing it with a viewer



Any picture will either sing or sag depending on the effectiveness of the background



“Composition is the art of leaving things out”

Andy Beel FRPS