A few months ago, I talked about the rule of Photo Saturation. In that lesson, I talked about the need for a photographer to shoot many photos of the same subject so that he or she can create the best quality image of that specific subject. While multiple shots are good, the trick with making Saturation work well for you is to shoot the subject from as many different angles and vantage points as possible, not just from the same position over and over again. It is this rule of shooting from multiple angles, which is called Viewpoint that makes the rule of Saturation so effective.
Let’s Get Started
Viewpoint allows a photographer to use a camera—any camera—to its fullest purpose. It is also a way for the photographer to directly convey a certain sense of emotion to the viewer. When a camera is placed at a certain angle relative to its subject, it will dramatically affect the way the viewer perceives that subject. Simply put, Viewpoint is a way for a camera’s angle and distance from its subject to maximize the photo’s emotional impact for the viewer.
For example, if a photographer shoots a small subject from a point below it, the subject will appear larger to the viewer. If, however, the photographer shoots the same subject while looking down on it, the subject will appear smaller.
Good photographers will always move around so that they can experiment in shooting the same subject from different physical and emotional angles. Some of these Viewpoint angles are: high-angle shots, bird’s-eye views, eye-level camera angles, low-angle shots, and worm’s-eye views.
Let’s Break It Down
A high-angle shot is a shot in which the camera is physically higher than the subject, so that it is looking down toward the subject. This type of shot can make the subject seem small and therefore weak or vulnerable to the photograph’s viewer. Because I am short (I stand a measly five feet, two inches), I usually have to climb a latter or tree to get this type of shot.
A bird’s-eye view is an extreme version of the high-angle shot. Photographer’s often shoot this type of shot using a plane, a hot air balloon, a skyscraper, a crane or some other platform that can reach extreme heights.
When the camera is level or looking at the subject straight on, this is termed an eye-level shot or neutral shot. It has little or no psychological effect on the viewer.
When a photographer shoots a low-angle shot, he or she takes the photo from below the subject. This type of shot has the ability to make the subject look powerful or threatening to the viewer. Often photographers will use this type of shot when making a portrait of individual politicians or athletes to make each seem quite literally larger-than-life. The easiest way to get this type of shot is to shoot while sitting or kneeling on the ground in front of the subject and shoot up at it.
A worm’s-eye view is an extreme version of the low-angle shot. To achieve this type of shot, a photographer usually has to lay flat on his or her belly and crawl on the ground to get the best photo.
For this assignment, I want you to shoot three different subjects using the five different Viewpoints that I have discussed. Each of the three subjects must be photographed at a high-angle, from a bird’s-eye view, at eye-level, at a low-angle, and from a worm’s-eye view. This means that there should be at least 15 good photos captured of these three subjects. Once again, I suggest using static subjects for this bit of homework. Have fun!
Until we meet again, I wish all of you brilliant flashes of perspective!
[ O*] Alycia