However, there are instances where moving closer is impossible, such as with nature and wildlife photography. Then, the large telephoto lens becomes almost a necessity. Using telephoto lenses seems easy, but such lenses require some special handling, such as you'll find in these tips. (Telephoto lenses typically refer to the large, interchangeable lenses you'll find with DSLR cameras, but the tips listed here can apply at least partially to large zoom lenses on point and shoot cameras, too.)
If at all possible, use a tripod or other steady surface. Large telephoto lenses require a very steady hand to avoid problems with camera shake. Because of the large amount of magnification in such lenses, tiny movements create large problems with images. In fact, even the act of pressing the shutter button can be enough to jostle the camera and leave the image blurred, meaning you may want to use a remote or bulb for the shutter. The added weight of the large lens can make the camera tough to hold steady with your hands alone.
Deciding whether to use IS. If your large telephoto lens has built-in image stabilization, you'll probably want to disable this feature when using a tripod. You shouldn't need image stabilization with the tripod, and the feature could actually cause slight softness in the image, when the lens is perfectly steady. However, if you won't have a tripod available when you shoot, you'll probably need to activate the IS for the lens to avoid camera shake.
Use macro principles. Rather than using your telephoto lens to always zoom in on faraway subjects, try using it with a close-up subject, zooming in on a single flower petal or an insect on a tree leaf, for example.
Don't be afraid to try different shots. It can be tempting to shoot all photos with a telephoto lens a certain way, such as filling the frame with the entire body of an animal every time. However, a telephoto lens can give you many options. Instead of shooting an animal's entire body in the frame, zoom a little closer and shoot only the head. Or, zoom out a little bit, and capture the animal next to an interesting tree. Try a few different looks and use the full flexibility of the telephoto lens.