Thursday, April 8, 2010

Photo Lesson 101: Viewpoint

The first ever online Polka Photos Class is full. But you can still follow along on the blog.

Composition Lesson 2: Viewpoint

This week’s assignment is to change your viewpoint. Usually the most flattering photos of people are taken either at their eye level or a little above. If you take a lot of photos of your kids or pets from your height, I recommend getting down to their level.

Another option is to get down super low. Don’t be afraid to lie down on the ground. Looking up at your subject makes her or him look dominant, strong. It can also make your pint-size appear like a giant, or a flower look as tall as a tree. Another thing to remember is that the camera emphasizes what’s in the foreground. So if you’re really close to someone’s foot, especially with a wide-angle lens, it’s going to appear bigger than his head!

The third option is a higher vantage point. This can be a roof, stairs, chairs or even a ladder (just be careful and have a spotter for the last two). And sometimes you just need to stand tall on your own two feet and point the camera down. Again, whatever is in your foreground will appear larger than the background.

Since most of the time you probably take eye-level photos, for this week’s assignment shoot from either a really low or really high viewpoint.

Here are my sample shots. Michael was coerced, I mean volunteered, to model again. This is what I call the superhero pose. Since I backlit the subject, I used flash as my main light source on Michael so he wouldn't be silhouetted. My max sync speed is 200 so I had to use a higher f-stop. This meant the background would be more in focus than ideally I'd like, but it doesn't distract me from the subject.

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