When I look through family photo albums, I tend to notice that something is awfully familiar about almost every photo on every page. They are all taken from the perspective of a standing adult.
An easy way to bring interest to your photographs is to change it up your perspective. It’s not always enough to take a knee, sometimes you need to take it to another level. =)
Try something different next time and take a birds eye view. It may mean hauling a step stool with you or using your surroundings to getting a leg up, but you’ll notice right away the benefits this perspective has.
- Taking shots from slightly above is a flattering angle for adult/teen portraits
- It instantly transports your photo out of the “snapshot” category and into the photography realm
- Your more likely to have a better backdrop
- It will be easier to persuade your subject not to hug the nearest vertical surface (the standard police line up photo)
Things to keep in mind:
- Ask your subject to look slightly up toward you and lift their chin. You don’t want their eyes to look like they are rolling back in their head
- Avoid bright light so your subject doesn’t squint while looking up at you
- The higher you get, the more distorted proportions will get (example: head will look too big for body). It can work, depending on what you’re going for, but just be aware that you have the control.
Once you get comfortable with your head in the air and you see what a difference it makes, you might want to try your hand at taking photos from below. It’s more challenging and draws a lot more attention, but be brave and try! You’ll love it!
I can’t tell you how many strange looks I get by working on the ground. I’ve even had someone stop to ask me if I was alright. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just photographing here.”
It may start off being a little embarrassing, but that fades once you start getting better shots. You can also minimize your public humiliation if you can convince your subject to be the one to change elevation by taking a few steps up.
- It is much more flattering for children/ babies being at their level rather than towering over them and it’s easier for babies to look at you from that angle.
- Again, interesting backdrops. Puffy clouds, leaves in the trees, etc.
- You’ll notice interesting stuff to include (like the flower bed in the wedding portrait above)
- It’s a rarely used perspective and you’ll find people spend more time looking at it because it’s so different from what they’re used to seeing
Thinks to keep in mind:
- Beware of flared nostrils! Your subject doesn’t want to see themselves like that. Promise.
- The closer something is to the camera, the larger it will look. Watch your composition and make sure your not “amplifying” upper arms, thighs, guts, or butts. Your crop or your position can reduce those trouble spots.
- Make sure your backdrop isn’t too bright. Many times, there will be a lot of sky in your outdoor shots. If your using a point and shoot camera, it will likely make your sky too bright and your subject too dark. Scout out some shade or wait until later in the day when the light is less intense. You’ll be happier with the results.
Try it out; let me know how it goes! Give me a heads up if you come up against any problems and we’ll trouble shoot them together.
Good luck and happy picture making!