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Using Camera Angles in Photography Composition

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Here’s a photographer’s secret you may not have known – camera angles in photography have a major impact on how a photo makes a viewer feel and the message it conveys.

You’ll be amazed at how a simple adjustment in your angle to a subject can completely transform the composition of your photograph!

As a photographer, camera angles are your best friend.

By learning how to use effectively use angles in photography composition you’ll undoubtedly surpass the masses of ordinary photographers! You’ll create photos that are more eye-catching, appealing and create emotion within the viewer.

Here’s how you do it.

First: Stop Shooting Normal Height Photos

One of the biggest mistakes newcomers make in when composing a photo is shooting at a “normal height” camera angle. What this means is taking a photo while standing fully erect and capturing the image from your normal point of view as you see it.

While normal height photos do have there place (ex. in portrait photography where you want to be at eye level with the subject) for the most part they end up creating boring looking photographs.

Get Creative with Your Camera Angles in Photography

One of the best ways to make your photo compositions stand out from others is to change your viewpoint from the normal height angle and to use your focal lengths creatively.

A trick professional photographers use is finding an angle that no-one else sees or has thought about.

This might include climbing up a ladder, lying down on the ground, standing really far a way, or very close up. They also combine this with a creative focal length to exaggerate or compress the depth within the image.

Take the compositions below for example.

Notice how the image of the golfer on the left is taken from a normal height camera angle and a medium focal length. Its pretty boring isn’t it? It looks like just about anyone could have taken this shot. Now, look at the photo of the golfer on the right. Its pretty engaging, right? That’s because the photographer got creative with his angle. He crouched down to knee level, got close to the subject, and used a wide angle focal length. The wide focal length exaggerated the depth of field making the ball seem a lot larger and closer to the viewer. By using this camera angle he was able to capture an image that stands out from other photographers.

camera-angles-in-photography-golfers
Photos by CapiT and JstanceL

Here’s another example below of using creative angles in photography composition.

The photo of the child on the left is a nice looking photo, but its one we’ve seen countless times before. The photographer got down on the same level as the child, used a telephoto lens, shallow depth of field and snapped the shot. Compare that to the photo on the right of the girl. Isn’t it more dramatic and interesting? That’s because the photographer got creative with the camera angle. Instead of shooting at arms length or farther, he leaned directly over top of the girl, pointed down, used a medium to wide focal length to exaggerate the depth of field, and took the shot. Now that’s a powerful composition!

camera-angles-in-photography-children
Photos by Dolfi and Vistazos

Below is a great example of framing a creative angle with an out of focus foreground element.

For this shot, the photographer positioned herself so that the flowers on the table in front of her would help frame the bride. On the other side of the composition she used the arm of the groom to complete the frame. Adjusting her depth of field she was also able to keep the attention on the bride. Just imagine how awesome your photos would look if you were able to duplicate this type of camera angle in your next photo shoot!

camera angles in photography out of focus framing

Once you try these tips, all sorts of ideas should start to come to mind. Just remember to try and compose photos in positions that other photographers don’t think of. Get high, get low, back up and zoom in, get close and zoom out, etc.

The angle that you choose, can tell a completely different story to the others.

Along with camera angles, think of what’s also in the frame:

  • What is the foreground interest?
  • What do you want to appear in the background?
  • What story can I tell with this image?
  • What does it say to someone who wasn’t there?

In closing, we’d like to leave with some more creative camera angles in photography compositions for you to use as inspiration.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on using camera angles in photography. Please share this tutorial with other photographers using the button below!

2 Comments

  1. […] Using Camera Angles in Photography – a must read guide for how to use alternative camera angles to express your desired vision photographically.  A well written and thought-provoking piece, this is sure to give almost everyone a fresh insight into composition. […]

  2. jstancel

    September 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for giving credit when using my picture.

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