If you are like me you find that most times you take photographs from a standing position. Often this is fine; taking a portrait eye-to-eye can work well for example. However there are times when it can pay-off to change your angle of view. Here are some pointers to help you with shooting your angles.
Kids and Pets
The most obvious time this works is when you take photographs of children or pets. The feel of the image changes completely when you get down “on their level”. Getting down low is not just about physical height; it is a reflection of your attitude. Here is an example where I got down nice and low:
Getting low and close here helps you to enter the drama of the scene:
The kind of lens you are using helps, too. If you only have the lens that came with your camera, set your zoom to the widest setting (something like 15mm for example) and get really close. You will get distortion; in this case this is what you want to get that “cute” look. A word to the wise – not a good idea to do this on a woman unless they really want you to post a photo with them having a giant nose! You can shoot directly above children as well with them looking up; it can make the photo feel hopeful or innocent. This is what I did on this one:
With women it is best to either shoot at eye-level or with your camera slightly above. I don’t like to be up too high otherwise the eyes look a bit strange (too much white in the bottom). Again as a rule shooting from below is not very flattering (on the whole). If you can choose the longest lens you have to take these types of shots. The long focal length compresses the image and makes the face look a bit thinner. I will happily shoot with my 300mm f4 lens! If you shoot to the side check the eyes to make sure the white looks nice and balanced. Plus if you do shoot from this angle you will need a smaller aperture (like f8) to make sure both eyes are in focus. When taking photos of guys you can shoot from below and this does work.
Here is one shot at 200mm:
It seems natural to set your tripod up at eye level and shoot from there. But everyone does that, right? Try getting down very low, using something like a piece of clothing or rice sack to position your camera on. You will get a real “bug’s eye view” of the scene.
If you do shoot standing-up then try going as wide as possible with your lens and look directly down. If your lens is pretty wide (like the Canon 10-22mm on a APS-C body or 17-40mm f4 on a full-framed one), you will get some interesting distortion. I do this sometimes when the sky is a bit boring (no clouds!); I focus on the ground, leaving around 1/3 of the picture as sky.
Anyway, hopefully these little tips will help you create more interesting photos. Sometimes all you need to do is change your angle of view!
These lenses helped me create the magic: