I was with a friend recently and he told me about his Dad taking photos… basically he uses a camera that has a swing out LCD screen, and takes the photos from about hip or thigh height.
It got me thinking about perspective, and how I like to occasionally put the camera on the floor and take a photo, so here goes with 7 things you can do to change perspective in photos and make them more interesting.
- Lay on your back and look up – this works really well under a tree or in a field of flowers, but can work equally well for buildings, in rooms, under stairwells, underwater (if you have the gear), to name a few. In some cases you don’t need to lay on your back… some good shots can be taken with your camera on the ground pointed up, but it may take you a few goes to get it “just right”.
- Turn you and the camera, or your subject, upside down – this can give startling results. If you are upside down, and you focus on composition, sometimes the change in perspective can give you a new way to look at an old subject. Subjects can also be turned upside down for interesting results, although be careful with pets – I will not accept any responsibility for scratches and other injuries!
- Take a step back – I use this one for portraits, and it works well with camera phones as well as regular cameras. Taking a step back from just a person in a shot often forces us to consider a principle composition technique that is used with landscape photography – include a foreground, a midground and a background. The photo on the left is one that I took of my nephew could have just been an expression of joy on his face as he was placed on the Ben & Jerry’s cow by my brother. Taking a step back included the cow (the source of the joy), and the background (Singapore Zoo’s Ben & Jerry’s outlet), and provided a bit more context and interest for the shot.
- Tilt the horizon – be warned with this one… you either do it a lot or not at all. What I mean is either tilt the horizon drastically, so that it looks deliberate, or keep it flat and straight. A small tilt usually ends up looking like you couldn’t be bothered setting up the shot correctly.
- Shoot from the hip – don’t use your eye in the viewfinder, or (depending on whether you’re trying to be surreptitious) even look at the LCD screen. Shooting shots from this low perspective can either be done so that people don’t realise you’re taking the photo, often resulting in more candid photos, or just a different height level – 2 or 3 feet off the ground, instead of 5 or 6. And because you aren’t consciously framing every detail of the shot, sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised by the results.
- Get down on their level – advice often given for taking photos of children and pets, however this works on objects as well. A popular example is flowers in a vase – don’t (some say never) shoot from above. Try side-on or below. This works for rooms as well. If you take the photo from a 5-6 foot level, you often see all the clutter on tops of surfaces. You could try taking at a lower angle where less clutter appears (just make sure you dust, because at this angle it can be quite apparent if you haven’t )
- Shoot from above – this works for subjects that you wouldn’t normally look at from above, like buildings and adults. As the objective here is to change the perspective, don’t include pets and children in this one, as we are constantly looking at them from a height above. This is probably why a lot of people like aerial shots.
Obviously the above is not a definitive list, and if you have more ideas or links to sites that have other suggestions, please post in the comments below.
Other articles that are available with information on shooting from a different perspective are as follows.
- DPS has a brief bit with an assignment on Get Down and Dirty for a New Perspective On Your Photography
- Capture Photos from Different Angles explores different ways to take photos to make them more interesting
I’ve included some different perspective pics below, but have gathered a few into this Gallery on Flickr – Change your Perspective. Enjoy!