How Low Can You Go?
By Bob Krist
Low-angle compositions, although not as obvious as elevated ones, have a drama all their own.
You can create exciting compositions by breaking a few rules of architectural photography and shoot upwards at buildings and monuments. The perspective of converging vertical lines adds a sense of drama, and the sky is often a better background than the surrounding clutter of buildings, telephone lines, and automobiles you encounter with eye level views.
Low angle views emphasize parts of a composition that are often overlooked in shoulder-high photography. Shells on a beach, cobblestones in the street, or the feet of dancers in a folklore show each take on a heightened importance when shot from ground level. Because of their tendency to emphasize objects in the foreground, wide angle lenses are perfect for exploring the world down under. If you find yourself becoming fond of this perspective, you can buy an accessory angle finder which screws into the eyepiece of your SLR camera. This item allows you to see the viewfinder from a 90-degree angle, and saves wear and tear on your knees and clothing because you don’t have to go quite so low to compose your picture.
Pictures of people, especially children, can benefit from being photographed from a lower angle. Kids respond well when you get down to their level, often rewarding you with much warmer and more spontaneous expressions than when you loom over them. They take on much more importance in the frame when they are photographed from their height rather than yours. Full-sized folks look good when they are isolated from a low angle against a nice plain background like the sky rather eye-level clutter.
Copyright 2006–2011 Bob Krist. Reproduced with permission. No Internet reproduction or other usage permitted. For more information send an email. Bob’s next book will be PhotoSecrets Travel Photography.