Shooting a long lens can seem daunting to those who have yet to try it, and even more so frustrating for photographers who have just started snapping shots from afar. Of course, nothing beats practice and understanding proper technique, but with a few little tricks, mastering the use of a long lens doesn’t have to be so frustrating.
Tip 1: Use proper tools for stability
It may seem common sense to shoot with a tripod, but there situations where the ground may not be so accommodating, or photographers must be on the constant move. In many instances, tripods are just too unwieldy and behemoth to carry around. The use of a sturdy monopod can make all the difference when a tripod just doesn’t fit the situation. Monopods are small, easy to carry, and can be adjusted much more quickly than a tripod.
In rare cases when both a tripod and monopod are out of reach, and maximum mobility are of utmost importance, try shooting with a “Stedi-Stock”, which allows a photographer to use the upper torso for a convenient boost to stability. The shoulder-stock for the camera uses a standard, universal tripod-mounting system, can be easily stowed away, and is light weight.
When shooting in awkward positions or low to the ground, the use of a “Gorilla-Tripod” may be precisely what the doctor ordered. These flexible, lightweight tripods are quick and easy to manipulate, taking any shape you require. This tool is invaluable for stabilizing the camera in difficult situations.
Tip 2: Shoot like a Sniper; Breath and Trigger
A sniper shooting a rifle takes the utmost care with each shot, having strict technique when it comes to breathing and pulling the trigger. While photography is a completely different field than firearm shooting, great techniques can still be shared between the two sports.
When a sniper fires a rifle, he minimizes vibration and movement of the firearm using strict breathing technique. This valuable technique can be applied to photography as well. Before ‘pulling the trigger’, slow down your breathing, and take a deep inhale and exhale. Between inhaling and exhaling, there is a moment when body movements are minimal. Relaxation is the key to stabilizing movements. Within the ten second gap of inhaling and exhaling is the best time to take the shot.