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Monday, October 03, 2011

Shooting Tips: Camera Height

Today we’re talking about camera height.

We spend a lot of time and money acquiring state-of-the-art equipment and learning how to use it, and that’s a good thing, but ‘gear-quest’ can get in the way of exploring other avenues of creativity.

One of my favorite approaches to developing interesting images is to change the POV (point of view). By this I mean raising or lowering your camera angle drastically. This altered POV will yield a more diverse crop of images from a session, and you’ll end up with some real gems. The following shots were taken of a seven-year-old boy. The high angle makes him look young and the low angle makes him look like a 12-year-old. That’s three distinct changes made in a matter of minutes.

Here’s how to proceed: After you’ve taken the normal images of your subject from your eye-level or tripod level, get down low. This is especially important with photos of children. A low angle image of a child is uncommon and interesting. The following shot, taken while I was flat on my stomach on the floor, will be used in an upcoming lesson about producing movie posters for Halloween.

The high camera angle has many uses, but group photos are among it’s most valuable. The following illustration shows how an elevated camera can help to equalize the size of the faces and make a flash exposure more uniform.

Using this high-angle approach is demonstrated in a casual family photo taken with a bare bulb flash bouncing off the ceiling. Note that all the faces are clear and unobstructed, which is almost impossible to achieve from eye level or lower.

In this next shot Bob Heaney, one of my favorite child photographers, gets an overhead shot of a little girl by holding a toy. It's an eye-catching angle and easy to capture with a little planning.

This blog only scratches the surface of an enormous topic, but I hope it gives you something to think about during your next shooting session. I’ll leave you with a photo of David Cross shooting a high angle shot from the roof of the Photoflex building.

Jeffery Jay Luhn and Team Photoflex

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