Published Feb 16. 2006 - 11 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 17. 2015

Go low

One of the most common errors we see when we see people taking pictures is that they are looking down on their subject. If you want pictures, which grab attention and have impact a good way is to lower your stance. Bend, kneel, sit even lie down to get below your motif.

Ordinary


Ambience


Ken Bonde Larsen - Anders Dahl

One of the most common errors I see when I see people taking pictures is that they will be looking down on their subject.
An angler just caught a nice fish and landed it. It's about to be released and the lucky - or skillfiul - guy kneels on the bank. The photographer hovers over the angler and the fish and gets a picture of a couple of shoulders, a cap with a bill that shadows the face and some bank and maybe a bit of water.
What's missing?
How about a face?
What did the fish look like?
Where's the horizon?
How did the place look?

By kneeling down next to the angler you get all this and more.

  • If you are photographing a standing person, bend your knees to get just a bit lower.
  • If you are photographing a kneeling person, kneel and bend even further down.
  • If you are photographing a person lying down, your camera needs to be on the ground.

Not always flattering


The result


Martin Joergensen - Steve Schweitzer

Always take some pictures where the camera is lower than your subject.

Camera low


Martin Joergensen

If you really want to get down, you want to use an angle finder or a camera, where the display can be tilted. That allows you to keep the camera so low that you actually cannot look into it, but using an angler viewer or finder you can still see what's happening.

But remeber to be careful with your low photos, particularly if you use a wide angle lens. The perspective can sometimes become too distorted and result in bodies and faces, which look odd.

The opposite is the case with telephoto lenses. The low stance will almost always give a great perspective to the image. By getting the horizon low and isolating the subject against the sky or background you can get a lot of ambience into your image.

Along the ground


Free of the horizon


Low and close


Low perspective


Low with forground


The face


Martin Joergensen - Kasper Mühlbach

You can visit 500th.net, which has much more on photography.


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.