Nearly every camera on the market comes equipped with some sort of zoom function. What's funny about zooms is that they are almost always used incorrectly or never used at all. Many photographers starting out consider the zoom to be for "far away things" and never understand the impact using a zoom correctly can have on their images. Keeping that in mind, here are some ways to use your zoom the next time you're out taking pictures.
And before you start using your zoom find out if it's an optical zoom or a digital zoom. This will make a big difference when it comes to the quality of your images. The best type of zoom is clearly an optical zoom and will be the focus of this article. The other type of zoom is a digital zoom where it blows up the image to make it seem larger but actually doesn't "zoom" in on the image as one would expect. To get the best results, always use an optical zoom. So here are some techniques you can use for getting great zoom results.
Crop, Crop, Crop
In a perfect world, no piece of photography software would have to come with a "crop" feature. If you don't know the term "cropping" it refers to removing all of the extra stuff in the image that the photographer should have avoided when shooting the picture. Rather than cropping the junk out of the background afterwards, make use of your camera's zoom and fill the frame with only the important parts of the image. Pictures of family get togethers are infamous for this as most photographers don't fill the frame with the subject and instead take a picture consisting mostly of the background.
No type of camera lens will reflect the subject with 100% accuracy. In every kind of lens there is a tiny bit of distortion, and this can and should inform your decisions with your camera zoom. For example, taking portraits with a zoom lens from a little farther away will give you much better results than putting the camera right in someone's face. Give it a try the next time you take a portrait style picture. Take a few pictures up close then a few with your zoom and see which your subject likes better.
Spy On Your Loved Ones
If you happen to have a powerful camera zoom or great lens, it may be time to try your hand at being sneaky. Obviously, it's not a good idea to invade the privacy of your friends and family, but candid pictures are a great way to capture people you care about as their natural selves. When you're far from the action, people act more natural and you'll find that you capture amazing moments that might have been missed if everyone was paying attention to the camera.
Zoom isn't a tool to only be used when you're far away. You should use it to improve your composition, make your subject comfortable and capture unplanned moments otherwise difficult to capture. A lens that is capable of zooming is a powerful and flexible ally in your quest to become a great photographer, so try and find new and creative ways to use it. You'll love the results.
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