The quest for the perfect shot will always be an elusive allure, one that keeps us reaching for the camera over and over in search for it. Sometimes the stars align and you see a shot in frame and the moment the shutter clicks you just KNOW, you’ve got it. You’ve caught something - an expression, a feeling, an experience that now is a part of history but on your camera card, has been immortalised forever.
While technical proficiency and gear are tools that we believe we need to have to elevate our photography, I want to talk about a subtle yet transformative approach that is often overlooked - the exploration of angles and perspectives.
In this blog post, I'll be sharing pictures from a photoshoot I did while out in Namibia with fellow artist, Brandi Nicole. She wears a beautiful headpiece by designer Lory Sun.
We will dive into the transformative impact of shooting from near, far, below, and above. By embracing these different vantage points, you can breathe fresh life into your work, capturing a diverse range of images and uncovering hidden gems that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Embrace the spirit of exploration!
Whenever I’m on set in a photoshoot one of the first things I communicate to my team is to be my additional eyes.
It's easy to fall into a zone with blinders on. For example, I might have a particular vision that I want to capture but for some reason nothing I capture is sparking, the scene feels flat, and I find myself at a loss to what could be that missing piece.
There have been a few times where a behind-the-scenes picture or a unique angle captured by a team member revealed a superior shot than I initially captured. It’s certainly a disheartening feeling, one that most photographers experience, and can be a valuable lesson in the journey of our growth.
Moving forward, I now actively seek input from my team, consciously move around the scene, assessing angles, perspectives, how light interacts with my subject, and swiftly shift lenses in case one might offer what the other doesn’t.
So let’s talk about how we can switch it up!
Shooting from Near:
Close-up shots have the power to reveal intricate details that might be overlooked from a distance. By getting up close and personal with your subject, you can create a sense of intimacy and immediacy in your photos.
Whether it's a portrait, a flower, or an architectural detail, getting close, even later when considering how to crop your image, can allow for a more compelling picture.
✩ Practical Tip: Experiment with a prime lens for a wider aperture, creating a shallow depth of field that isolates your subject and blurs the background, drawing attention to the details you want to highlight.
This portrait was captured with a 50mm 1.2 lens.
Shooting from Far:
On the flip side, stepping back and capturing the broader scene can provide context and a sense of scale. Wide-angle shots are perfect for sweeping landscapes or big bustling cityscapes. By incorporating negative space, you can emphasize the grandeur of your surroundings, offering viewers a visual journey beyond the subject, setting the context.
✩ Practical Tip: Invest in a quality wide-angle lens to capture expansive scenes without distortion, and pay attention to composition to maintain balance in your frame.
Shooting from Below:
Changing your perspective by shooting from a lower angle can introduce drama and impact to your photos. This technique is particularly effective when photographing people or animals, when done well it infuses your pictures with a cinematic allure.
Ground-level shots can also provide a unique viewpoint, adding an element of grandeur as though seeing the world from a perspective of a child. Things appear larger than life.
✩ Practical Tip: Consider using a tilt-screen or an articulated LCD if your camera has one, making it easier to compose and focus when shooting from low angles.
Shooting from Above:
One of my favourite angles is by taking the high ground as it can offer a fresh outlook on your subject. Shooting from above is excellent for capturing dynamic compositions.
✩ Practical Tip: Bring along a step stool or even a small ladder to capture angles that might be out of reach. Conversely, you could use a drone for aerial photography, providing unparalleled access to perspectives that were once reserved for birds.
In the dynamic and ever-shifting world of photography, the willingness to explore new angles and perspectives is akin to unlocking a secret realm of creativity!
It's not just about capturing images, it's about crafting a unique visual narrative that sets you apart from the crowd. Remember, the perfect shot may be waiting just around the corner or over your head! So embrace the art of exploration, venture beyond the ordinary, and let your lens tell stories from angles unseen!