In photography, the term angle can be used to describe the viewpoint from which a photograph is taken. A low angle (or up angle) means that the camera was low to the ground and the lens was tilted up at the subject. A high angle (or down angle) means that the camera was pointed down at the subject. Because angles generally give different viewpoints than people experience just walking around, they make images more interesting and can add a wide variety of storytelling effects to your photography!
If you are looking for one fast, easy, who cares what kind of camera you have - foolproof way to put the "OH SNAP!" into your snapshots, this lesson is for you!
One of the most common mistakes people make when taking pictures is that they don't consider the vantage point they are shooting from. It's really a shame because using interesting angles is one of the most powerfully simple ways to improve your photography. Angles are good for all kinds of things - making someone look taller, shorter, skinnier, bigger, you can even use them to isolate your subject and get rid of unsightly backgrounds. That's just the tip of the iceburg!
So from this moment on, get used to the idea that, in order to creat that oh so perfect photo, we will probably find you laying on the ground, kneeling on the gravel, curled up in a corner, or standing on a ladder - any number of uncomfortable places and positions, all in the name of Momtography! Trust us, once you see the results, you'll be doomed to never take a "normal" photograph again!
Chloe is known around her block and on the playground as the stare-down queen! Wanting to see if she had rightfully earned this title and get a taste of what the other two-year-olds were up against, Krista got down on her knees, pointed her lens directly between her eyes and snapped! Boy did Chloe let her have it! Clearly she has earned her title!
Moving to eye level is what you do when you want to capture the world as your little one is experiencing it. It transposrts you directly into their space, giving you a front-row seat to what they might be thinking. In fact, out of all the angles we're about to showcase, you should consider the eye-level angle your "staple" position. It won't always be the most artistic, but it's the most consistently pleasing. It also sets you up to get genuine eye contact when your little one graces you with it! This isn't a tough lesson at all - an eye-level angle is exactly what it sounds like. Do what it takes to line up your lens with your child's direct line of sight and you've got it!
THE UP ANGLE
It's the most magical place on earth. Unless you're trying to get a picture of JUST your child. And then, faster than you can get run over by a stroller, it threatens to be the most frustrating place on earth. Never fear - this momtographer perservered - and it was an angle to the rescue... the UP angle.
Adrienne tried earlier in the day to get pictures in front of the castle, but Cinderella has many admirers, and they ALL showed up for their picture time. Late that afternoon, stunt dad came up with an idea. He hoisted Sydney up on a pillar just off of Main Street U.S.A., careful to keep his hands around her waist and duck down so mommy could set up the shot. Sitting on the ground looking up, Adrienne leaned back and tilted her camera to the sky until all fanny packs and straw hats disappeared.
Distance was key - too close to the pillar and Adrienne would have had a nice shot of her daughter's knees and nostrils. Too far back and she'd get floating tourist heads. So after scooting back and forth on the pavement a few times, she waited for the baloon to clear the castle and SNAP SNAP SNAP SNAP SNAP! She made her own magic!
THE DOWN ANGLE
One of our very favorite things about taking pictures is the different stories that can be told based on the viewpoint they're taken from. Like in this photo of Luca, Krista's youngest.
Krista grabbed her camera after noticing her youngest in a rare moment of contemplation with her signature two-fingers in her mouth (rock and roll baby!). She likes to experiment with angling her camera down, almost standing over her girls to capture them as she, the big tall mommy, sees tiny little them. That angle rewarded her with a picture that says more about the tender and dreamy emotion Krista was having towards her daughter than whatever sweet wonder was going through Luca's tiny little head.
Now if you know Chloe, you know that at two she's already Krista's tomboy diva princess. Here she is lying on the floor giving Krista a chance to stand over her and capture her royal fierceness, complete with temporary tattoo. As you can see from this example, there's so much depth created by her lying on the floor with her arms outstretched! Shooting almost directly down at her is what made this photo so, wel, fierce!
So now that you've witnessed first-hand the power of angles, don't ever just stand up and take a picture. Pause to consider the vantage point from which you'll be telling you little one's story - it will make all the difference in the world!