Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Camera Angles - High, Eye, and Low

The composition of an image, exactly what is in the frame and where it is located, is affected greatly by Camera Angle.  The relationship of the lens to the subject can help to create different emotions in the viewer of the image.  Whether you are taking portraits, product shots, or (if you must) selfies you will want to pay attention to whether the lens of your camera is eye level, above, or below the subject.

For my example shots, I used my Samsung Galaxy S3 to take the images, a desk lamp to light the shots, and a teddy bear as the subject.

Image #1 (right) is from a high-angle. This view makes the subject appear smaller. Extreme high angle shots can help to create drama. I took my example shot from a less extreme angle to mimic what I often see on Facebook.

Image #2 (left) is an eye-level angle. This view makes the subject more approachable and should allow the viewer to more easily connect with the subject since both eyes are visible.

Image #3 (right) is a low-angle shot. The subject of the image is made larger and more intimidating when the camera is placed anywhere below the eye level of the subject. It can also make the subject less approachable because you cannot see their eyes clearly.

An eye-level shot is what I usually strive for. Since we are typically striving for appeal and approachability it provides the most consistent emotional reaction in people.

That isn't to say that high-angle and low-angle shots should never be used. If the dramatic diminishing or enlarging effect fits the usage of the image, use a high or low angle shot.

And when I posted these photos on my Facebook page some commenters liked my low-angle shot because it revealed the smile of the bear and seemed to have a nicer backdrop.  One person also liked it because it provided a more unique view of the bear.

The most consistent response, however, was in favor of the eye-level shot.

The same rules apply generally to angles of food and other products. Look at the cooking shows, magazines, and cookbooks' usage of angles. The images of food are typically at eye-level (or in that case I suppose you could think of it as nose level ;) ).

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