The proper viewpoint or camera angle is an important factor in good composition. Repositioning your subject within the viewfinder frame and changing the camera viewpoint or camera angle are two simple ways of controlling composition.
Photographing from a different viewpoint or camera angle can often add drama and excitement or even bring out an unusual aspect of a subject. Most of the subjects you photograph are three-dimensional and should be photographed from an angle (to the right or left of and/or from higher or lower than the subject) that allows the viewer to see more than one side of the subject. The photographer should study the subject from different sides and angles. Walk around the subject and look at it from all viewpoints. See it from elevated and low positions as well as from eye level to find the best composition. This greatly assists in composing the subject for the best balance and helps to select a background that compliments, not distracts from the subject.
The terms viewpoint and camera angle are often used in conjunction with one another and sometimes used interchangeably. They can also have different meanings depending on how they are applied. Viewpoint” is the camera position in relationship to the subject. “Camera angle” is the angle in which the camera lens is tilted; for example, a picture of sailors marching, made from ground level with the camera held horizontal with reference to the ground, may be referred to as a “low viewpoint” (or camera position); however, when this picture is made, again from ground level, but with the camera pointed up, it may be referred to as a “low camera angle.” Likewise, a picture made from an elevated or high position, with the camera again held horizontal with reference to the ground, or even pointed straight down, can be referred to as a “high viewpoint”; however, if the camera is not held horizontal to the ground or pointed straight down, but pointed at some angle between horizontal and vertical, the camera position could be referred to as a “high camera angle.”
With the camera held horizontal, eye-level shots are usually made at a height of about 5 1/2 feet, the height from which the average adult sees, and with the camera horizontal. With the camera held at eye level but pointed up or down, the camera position changes and you have either a low or high camera angle, respectively.
Low Viewpoint and Low Camera Angle
Low viewpoints and low camera angles can add emphasis and interest to many ordinary photographs. A low viewpoint can be used to distort scale or add strength to a picture or to emphasize certain elements within the picture. A low camera angle is achieved when the camera angle is located below the point of primary interest and pointed upward. Low angles tend to lend strength and dominance to a subject and dramatize the subject. Low angle shots are used when dramatic impact is desired. This type of shot is very useful for separating the subject from the background, for eliminating unwanted foreground and background, and for creating the illusion of greater size and speed.
High Viewpoint and High Camera Angle
High viewpoints and high camera angles help orient the viewer, because they show relationships among all elements within the picture area and produce a psychological effect by minimizing the apparent strength or size of the subject
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