"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Perspective is an amazing thing, in life and in photography. A little change in perspective can change so much. Today, with the help of some past JLP Senior Reps, let's look at how this applies to photography. We can take several different perspectives when photographing our subjects, but let's look at how our images can change when we take two distinct perspectives- shooting from above vs. shooting from below.
1. SHOOTING FROM ABOVE: THE HIGHER PERSPECTIVE
There is something very feminine and lovely about shooting from a higher perspective, and I always try to capture some images of my female subjects from a higher vantage point. Shooting from this perspective forces my subject(s) to look up at me, bringing their chin out and away from their neck, which elongates that area. This is very flattering. This also allows more light into the eyes. But aside from the obvious, remember that whatever is closer to the camera shows up larger. This means that my subjects hips, tummy, and legs are away from my camera and showing smaller than her eyes, smile, and neckline. How flattering!
When shooting from a higher perspective, you need not go further than just an inch or two higher than your subject to see desired results. Play with different levels and see which you most prefer.
2. SHOOTING FROM BELOW: THE LOWER PERSPECTIVE
While this perspective suggests power and masculininty, you do not need to scrap it when shooting girls. I enjoy shooting from a lower angle, whether it's for a high school senior boy, or a young lady, or my six year old son. Just be careful. Remember that whatever is closer to the camera will appear larger, so if your subject is self-conscious about her legs or her belly, you do not want them closer to your camera than her face, or your viewer's eyes will stray from her beautiful face and right to those spots she is self-conscious about.
A few great reasons to use the lower perspective:
* To make a young man appear strong and powerful.
* To make a little boy appear more like a grown man.
* To imply strength and power to an athletic portrait, be it for a young man or young lady.
* To elongate beautiful legs, or to add height to your subject.
Again, you don't need to exaggerate your perspective. Just an inch or two lower can change our image. Experiment and see for yourself.
Perspective is a powerful tool, in photography and in life. May this simple and fun lesson in portraiture encourage you to consider your perspective in life as well. I'd bet we all could use a change in perspective now and then.