So, this weeks tips and tricks is going to be you picking the topic on areas that YOU want hear about!! So, tell us what you would like to hear on and it might just make it into one of our Tuesday Tips & Tricks posts! Anything from lighting, posing, interaction with clients, business or marketing.
We have had soooo many of you comment that you love this blog series that we started, so we really want to give it back and customize it for you. We want to help you guys in any and every way that we can and that is what we love doing more than anything else!!
So, make sure to leave a comment below on this blog post and we will answer!
So, of course, we won’t leave you hanging this week and here is today’s topic!!
Camera Height and Its Effect
Today’s tips and tricks blog is all about making our clients look the way that we want them to in our images by controlling the perspective on our shots. The height of your camera in relation to your subject can have a HUGE effect on them, how they look and what you draw the focus to. Camera placement can sometimes make or break an image and make our client love it or hate it.
When we talk about this subject at our IN-CAMERA workshops, we always talk about how you can manipulate what the viewer sees in an image by simply adjusting your camera height. Camera height can make someone look normal, taller or shorter and can make parts of the body look bigger or smaller as well. So, does anyone out there know how tall say, the Olson Twins are? In looking at the below professional photo below taken by Peggy Sirota, they look very natural and you would have no idea that they are actually 51’1 and 5’2.
Now, look at the below shot. See how unnatural and squat they look? That is a big NO NO!
You as the photographer can manipulate reality (for the good or bad) by shooting your subject from just the right camera height to make your subject look squat, natural, or really tall and slender.
The basic rule of thumb to follow if you want your clients to look totally natural in their height and perspective is to place the camera at exactly the center height of your frame. So, if you were shooting a full length portrait of a bride, then you would need to have the camera at her waist height (the center of the frame that you see in the viewfinder). Or, if you were shooting a head shot, then the camera would be around the eye level of your subject. So then, if you want to deemphasize something in your frame, then you can raise the camera above that height and everything underneath the center of the frame will look smaller, or you can lower the camera, and everything above the center of your frame will be over-emphasized and appear bigger.
One problem that some photographers can encounter in their images is that they don’t understand how this effects their subjects and they end up making a short bride look even shorter (which is the last thing she wants), or a bigger bride look bigger. If you are in the habit of shooting full length shots from a standing position, then most of your subjects will look unnaturally squished.
So, let’s take a look at a few images and talk through what was going on behind the scenes.
This first shot is of our awesome model/good friend Lindsay Kirkendall and was taken by us for her portfolio. We wanted her to look natural and tall (which she is) so we took this image from her chest height which makes the shot look the way it does.
This next image was one of our brides from 2009. We wanted to do a very dramatic compositional shot of her and really make it seem vast. This bride is maybe 5 foot 4 tops. The camera height for this shot was around 1 foot off the ground which makes everything on top of the frame look much taller than it is. This was also exaggerated more with a wide angle lens.
This next image is of our awesome friends from Kansas City Dan & Amy Cogan. This shot was similar to the one above where we wanted the shot to be dramatic, so we lowered the camera just below waist level to make them look a bit taller than they are. Dan is about my height (5’8) and his lovely wife is around 5 foot 4 or so.
This last image is of one of our brides from last year. We wanted to do a shot that was all about her eyes so we raised the camera 1 foot above her head, which made everything underneath get deemphasized. If you had a bride that was bigger (this bride clearly is not) this would have a slimming effect on everything under the center of the frame and will be very flattering on her.
Don’t forget, let us know what YOU want to hear about and you may see it in future Tips & Tricks!!