Ad­just your cam­era an­gle for more im­pact­ful por­trait shots

James Pater­son shows how dif­fer­ent view­points can im­prove your por­traits

Photo Plus - - Contents -

When com­pos­ing a por­trait, sev­eral key ques­tions usu­ally pop up: What should we in­clude or ex­clude? How should we pose or ar­range our sub­ject? What is the light do­ing? How will our aper­ture and fo­cal length in­flu­ence the com­po­si­tion? Much of this hap­pens on a sub­con­scious level – af­ter all, com­pos­ing a pic­ture is as much about in­tu­ition and feel­ing as it is about fol­low­ing the ‘rule of thirds’. But if we stop for a sec­ond and

think about these points, we might just end up with a much bet­ter photo.

In por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy, choice of cam­era an­gle is cru­cial, as not only do we have the free­dom to move around our sub­ject – per­haps duck­ing down, get­ting up high, or shift­ing left or right to get the best an­gle – we can also change the sub­ject’s po­si­tion.

Over the next cou­ple of pages we’ll ex­plore the pos­si­bil­i­ties of cam­era an­gles. Let’s be­gin with how a non-photographer might ap­proach the scene – per­haps re­sult­ing in some­thing like the in­set im­age of the red leaves above. Sure, it cap­tures the au­tum­nal colour, but it’s messy, the sub­ject is cen­tral and the leaves look slightly past their best. A slight change of an­gle is all that’s needed to com­pletely change the scene – no fancy light­ing, no special kit, just sound com­po­si­tion skills. Sim­ply by mov­ing to the side and bring­ing the lens in very close to the wall of leaves, we get a more pro­fes­sion­al­look­ing por­trait, with a beau­ti­fully blurred fore­ground.

The Mis­sion

Ex­per­i­ment with an­gles for bet­ter por­traits Time needed One hour Skill level Easy Kit needed Medium tele­photo zoom lens

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