Photography Lesson #2: Working the Angles
Posted by Ryan at April 12th, 2010
Angles are EVERYTHING in photography! You don’t see the importance in it until you see what it does to your subjects photographed. To the right I have put together a progression of angles with a crazy looking bunny I got for Easter from my mother, long story on that… but a funny one! Thanks Mom! I figured he would be the best model for this demonstration of angles. Anyway, let me give you some reasoning behind what the angles do to the subject.
In photo #1 you see an Extreme High angle. The Extreme high angle shots give the perception that your subject is smaller, elongates the body (making people thinner), and creates the illusion of distortion. This is great when you are trying to create depth in portraits as well. (Also you see this a lot with the “MySpace” photos of girls and guys taking pictures of themselves to make them “look good”, bigger boobs, muscular chests, ripped shoulders, thinner faces and stomachs. Now you know why it makes them look good… IT’S ALL IN THE ANGLES!
Photo #2 shows a high angle shot. This does the same to the subject as the extreme high angle, yet not as intense. This is actually best used when you are doing portrait work of people who are obese (or feel that they have a double chin). Trust me, keep this between you and me… if you do it without saying it… the customer will be really thankful that you made them look thinner without even doing Photoshop work. This also works best when you have people who are tall, especially taller women. They don’t want to be seen as being really tall in photos. So keep the big and tall in mind when doing the higher angle shots.
Photo #3…. BORING!!!! Why I say this is it just is a straight on shot. This is what a lot of people make the mistakes of when taking photos of subjects. Not to mention composition errors too (ill get into this next time). It is just a snap shot to me. Yet this is what a lot of people do in photographs. As you can see on the progression of angles, it just documents what is there. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is just boring… try avoiding this while doing your own works. Change your angles!
In photo #4 you need to get low, bend your knees a bit. This is a low angle shot and what it does to your photos is the exact opposite of the high angle shots. Makes your subject look bigger, more powerful and taller too! So this is good for those shorter subjects that want to look bigger then they really are….. Random fact of Photography: Adolf Hitler only stood 5’9” and was 175lbs. He made it a national law that no photograph was to be taken of him from a higher angle. This is so you are always looking up to him. Power hungry eh?! I Think so!…. This is just something to keep in mind when using this angle.
The last, photo #5, is an extreme low angle. This, as you can see, gives the affect of distortion. Making a small subject look gigantic. This is almost like you standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty and looking up. You think to yourself… that’s a whole lot’a woman right there! This angle gives distortion again, longer bodies and depth.
So remember, when taking photos of your subjects WORK THE ANGLES! Don’t just take the photographs from eye level. Stand on a chair or climb a ladder (don’t fall off), lie on the ground or place your subject on a platform to make them even higher. If you have any questions or comments, post them below. I’d like to see what your thinking. Again, keep shooting all… practice makes perfect. Talk to you soon!