Using Longer Focal Lengths to Compress and Blur Your Backgrounds


Photofocus (old site)

One reason for using a telephoto lens (such as 100mm or 200mm) is to keep some distance between you and your subject. This can be great for portraits of people, as well as nature photography (so you don’t scare away any animals). However, longer focal lengths affect more in your images than just bringing your field of view closer to your subject or focus point. Some of the biggest changes you will see will be in regards to depth of field and compression of the background or foreground of your images.

Take a look at the following two images, both photographed with the same lens (Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS ) on a full-frame body (Canon 5D Mark III) at different focal lengths (70mm and 200mm). The first image was photographed at 70mm, which is a great focal length for minimal distortion in your subject. Then, I stepped back and zoomed…

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