Using Telephoto Lenses for Landscapes and Cityscapes

It’s pretty standard to use a wide-angle lens when shooting landscapes. You get more detail by capturing more of the scene and you build a stronger relationship between your main subject in the foreground and the space in the background. But, we’re all about doing things differently here. We love it when rules are broken and photographers break away from the norm to capture out-of-the-ordinary images. In this video, portrait and documentary photographer Marcin Lewandowski uses a telephoto lens to focus the viewer’s attention on objects in the background instead of the foreground:

The World Through a Telephoto Lens

When shooting with a telephoto lens, you’ll notice that things look a bit different. Images are distorted through compression, which makes objects in the foreground appear smaller, while objects in the background appear larger.

shift perspective cityscape photography

You can use this distortion to your advantage to really add creative flare to your images. If you’re shooting the moon or any clear celestial objects, for example, you can make it appear larger and really put a focus on it by using a telephoto lens.

increase moon size photo

Using Telephoto Lenses to Shorten Distance

With a long lens, you can shoot over a body of water or a valley to get a perspective that you wouldn’t be able to capture with a standard or wide-angle lens. It’s now possible to shoot across a valley to flatten the opposite side and layer everything from the foreground to the background, bringing the furthest layer into the the anchor point of focus.

telephoto lens landscape photography

These are just a couple ways you can use telephoto lenses to add unique perspectives to your landscape and cityscape images. Shooting at 400mm will drastically change your perspective, but even at 200mm, the background objects will look bigger in comparison to the other features in the image.

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