One of the key components when out capturing photographs is to consider your composition. Part of deciding on the composition for any image is what camera angle to use. This month I encourage you to create an image using a low camera angle, getting low to the ground, think of it as a “bugs eye view”. Getting low is not how we normally view things and as a result creates interesting images. By positioning your camera at a lower angle the result is more engaging as it appears to make the viewer feel they are right there.
Here are some general tips and techniques for low angle photography. Use the same techniques as you do for shooting any image; set your aperture for the desired depth of field, adjust the camera settings for a correct exposure, focus on the subject, find a good composition while considering the light, get your camera low, and finally wait for the right moment. I have included the camera settings for the example images below to help.
Get your camera low by using your articulating screen (not on all cameras) or get as low as you can by either setting your tripod as low as it will go or even lay down if you are hand holding your camera. Take a small tarp, beach towel or large plastic garbage bag to help keeping you from getting too soiled which helps keep your camera gear clean.
One of the main guidelines for shooting pets or children is to get down to eye level. In the image below with the puppy, we see that the composition included the persons legs and feet, as well as the trail to help with telling a story.
With the image of the wave crashing on the rocks, not only the low angle but the closer you get to your subject the more engaged the viewer will be. Just be careful, know your surroundings, don’t take any unnecessary risks, and watch for a while before you attempt getting into position to take the image to ensure your safety.
Take advantage of the terrain. In the image of the crab claw, found laying on the rocks, I stood on the rocks that were lower than the rock my subject was on and positioned myself so that the light was behind the subject. I laid my camera on the rock in front of the subject to take the photo. The depth of field in the photo looks shallow because of being close to the subject and by using a longer focal length, in this case 70mm.
With the minimalist image of the rock in the sand, Using an even longer focal length can give you the sense of being lower than normal. In this case I was kneeling on the sand instead of laying down because I had not brought anything to lay on in the sand. Remember you do not want any sand getting on or into your camera/lens so be careful when on a beach with your gear.
This year we have a few more wild Snowshoe Hare’s hanging around in our yard and this was a great opportunity during a sunset to capture an intimate image. The subject in this case was elevated slightly on a bank, and I positioned myself to have the subject backlit creating the rim light.
As always check the result on the camera display by zooming in and around the image as well as reviewing the histogram to make sure everything is just right before you consider being finished taking your image(s).
Students are encouraged to develop their ability to tell a story or invoke an emotion, as well as how to plan and troubleshoot while creating their images. As such it’s important to not only create the image but to also include a “title”, and write a short paragraph about; how they came up with the idea, any interesting back ground that compelled them to make the image, and describe any techniques on how they overcame any obstacles.
As always with our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out an instructional resource, below are some YouTube video links to help with some important tips, hints and ideas.
Low Angle Photography instructional aids:
■ Photography Using Low Angles: by The Art of Photography (5min 26sec)
■ Landscape Photography Composition – Photographing at low Angle: by Michael Breitung (7min 50sec)
An important part of improving your photography is practice, which is one aspect of the monthly theme challenge, in addition you have an opportunity to learn about different genres, techniques and tips.