Element of Design:
Where you place yourself when capturing a scene.
How you shoot a scene determines what kind of story you want to tell and what kind of mood you want viewers to feel when they look at a photo. The power of perspective is beyond the consideration of your photography subjects; it is about the angle of your camera, your proximity to the subjects and what you include in the frame that plays an important role in your final image.
Before you press the shutter, take a moment to think about how you want your subject to be perceived in the image. Is there anything you want to highlight? A story you want to tell?
You don’t need fancy camera equipment or a bunch of expensive lenses to create different perspectives. You just need creativity and the ability to move around…and BAM! You have it all.
Shoot From A Low Angle
Shooting from a low angle is probably the most popular alternative to eye-level perspective photography. It can be challenging because you may have to squat, sit, kneel or lie down to capture your image. It’s worth the effort because it provides an out-of-the-ordinary look at your subject and the results can be stunning.
Start by identifying your subject, then find a low angle to shoot from. You might even want to place your camera on the ground for additional support. You can use leading lines, like the rails in the image above, or anything in the foreground to draw the viewer into your image.
Alternatively, try positioning your subject in the foreground with the background out of focus. To set the focus point just tap on your screen where you want to direct the viewer’s attention, then take the picture.
Bird’s Eye View: Get Up High & Look Down
Looking down towards your subject is another way to get a new and unique angle with your perspective photography. You don’t necessarily need to climb to the top of a building to accomplish this, but that is one popular possibility. In fact, if you can gain access to the upper floors or the roof of a tall building, you can discover some amazing vantage points.
Outside on the roof, or looking through a window, observe the cityscape and capture a bird’s-eye view of the other buildings in the area. Also, scan across the tops of the buildings to the surrounding landscape.
Then inside, from a top floor, look for a staircase (preferably spiral) that allows you to see all the way to the bottom. This isn’t necessarily something you’ll find in every building, but when you do find them they can be breathtaking to photograph.
Worm’s Eye View: Look Up At Your Subject
When you shoot from a low angle, you’re often looking up at your subject. But let’s talk about really looking up at your subject – way up at the buildings, the trees and the sky above you. Whether you’re roaming the busy streets of your city or hiking in a forest, there are many opportunities to look up and capture a creative new view of your surroundings.
You can lie on your back to accomplish this or just stand and shoot straight above your head. Look for the lines on the buildings – emerging from any or all four corners of the photo – to draw the viewer into your image.
The same can be done with the limbs on trees. In the image above, both the large and small branches serve as lines, twisting and turning in a variety of directions. This can create a very dramatic effect that instantly catches your viewer’s eye.
Use Foreground To Create Depth
When you add something to the foreground of an image, it provides depth and leads the viewer into the picture. The foreground can draw your viewers to the subject or it can serve as the subject itself. It’s your call. This works in a variety of shooting situations we’ve already discussed, including the eye-level angle we’re trying to improve upon with these perspective photography tips.
Frame Your Subject
Another way to create unique perspective photography is to frame the subject in your shots. This doesn’t mean you should find the latest app that creates a graphical frame around your image. Instead, find something in the scene you can surround your subject or focal point with.
It could be a man-made object like a fence or a door, or something more natural like trees or leaves. This provides a unique perspective and it helps to direct the viewer’s attention to your subject.
When you frame a shot you don’t have to completely surround your subject. You could simply shoot through an opening between some trees, like in the photo above.
You can even frame a portrait, possibly using a door or window. For a really unique image, consider having your subject use their arms or legs to frame themselves.
Use Reflections In Water & Glass
Reflections are a great way to offer a new perspective on your subject. In fact, reflections can completely transform your image into a work of art. You just need to train your eye to look for them.
Reflections can be found anywhere. In a puddle on a city street, a pristine lake, a pair of mirrored sunglasses, a window of a building. Reflections offer powerful and oftentimes intriguing ways of providing new perspectives, and improving your perspective photography.
If you’re using a body of water as a method of reflection, your results will vary depending on how calm and clear the water is. A puddle can sit relatively dormant on a city street, providing a vivid reflection of the cars and people around it and the buildings above it.
Shoot Through An Object
One way to create particularly unique perspective photography is to shoot through an object. Choose something like a fence, a window, a prop, or frosted glass, with your subject on the other side. There are a wide range of possibilities here.
A chain-link fence is one option with varied possibilities. It’s typically thin enough that you can use it across your entire image with the background in or out of focus, or you can use a smaller part of the fence and frame your subject within one of the openings. Yet another possibility is to show only a small part of the fence in the foreground, providing some of the depth we discussed earlier.