Vantage points…

De Pens... By Damon Guy. The viewpoint you take can make or break a picture.

De Pens... By Damon Guy.
The viewpoint you take can make or break a picture.

The point is best made from a new angle

The picture above was taken from immediately above the pens in a cup. It was set up on a tripod and the camera was hung down from above to take the shot. In this case I used a fish-eye lens. I carefully arranged the pens so they covered the sides of the cup. The picture was taken under natural light.

What’s interesting about this picture, and the reason it captures the eye, is the unique viewpoint. The use of the upside down camera is a detail, the issue is about getting a shot from above something. In this case immediately above.

If you want your photograph to be remarkable, you need to think how to get people to remark on it. The shots that catch peoples eye are seldom the ones that everyone has seen before. If you go the extra mile and find a unique viewpoint you will capture the imagination of the viewer. They will be pulled into the picture. Viewing something from a new angle is an experience they will want to embrace, to enjoy and to learn from.

In general, we tend to take our shots from the standing, eye-level type of position. This gives the world your view, pretty much the same view as most adults. In composing your shots the photograph is often improved if you take things from the eye-level or existence-level of your subject. Take your shot from the point of view of the subject. Your perspective is then in their world rather than yours. This is something new for the viewer. With children – work at their eye-level. Plants benefit from the plant-level approach. Cats benefit from a view thorough the long grass – where they live their lives. Birds on the wing benefit from a highpoint. Countless other living things are best seen from where they live their lives. It is all about engaging with your subject on its level. Get up, get down, get in, get under, get everywhere that is not the normal way to see your subject.

Photographing inanimate objects can have the same principle applied. Take a shot of a pair of dice. Try all the angles you can think of. Do it from the top, the sides, all sides. From below on the edge of a table is fun… then ask a few friends which one they find the most interesting.

Start thinking about what level you should take every photo. Each time you take a shot try out different angles. Above, below sideways, looking up, looking down. Try them all. You have not explored a subject until you have tried it from every angle.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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