Bird's Eye View

3 Views That Will Change Your Perspective

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up. – Garry Winogrand

I love the viewfinder on my 5D Mark II and I don’t know what I would do without it. I like seeing what I am taking and I even mentioned this in one of my past blogs. But what if I told you that some of my interesting shots were taken without even looking through the viewfinder, not even at the LCD screen? Sometimes I think it’s fun to experience shooting with the camera on the ground, above the head, or any other positions that come through mind. If you don’t like the picture, just delete it, no big deal.

We take most of our pictures with the camera at eye level. Why not try something different, a unique perspective? No cheating, though! By perspective I don’t mean zooming. Remember those days before zoom lenses? How did we zoom? With our feet. We moved closer to the subject. That’s what I mean by perspective. Keep in mind that zooming only changes the angle of view, not the perspective.

So let’s get moving and try these views. They will change your perspective and will turn boring snapshots into cool shots.

1. Bird’s Eye View

This is pretty cool and very simple. Just shoot from a balcony, bridge or anything that you can look down from. If this is not possible, try raising the camera above your head. A view from above can make your shot more interesting. This trick also works when photographing people. Shooting from above will produce more flattering photos: smoother skin, no double chin. Trust me, your grandma will love you for this.


2. Worm’s View

This is not as dirty as you may think, literally.  Yes, you can lie on the ground on your belly, but I typically don’t. I just hold the camera as close to the ground as I can and take a few shots. No need to look through the viewfinder, not even at the LCD screen. This is more like trial and error. Take a few shots and see for yourself. Also, you will have a foreground without even trying too hard: the grass or even the ground itself. You can also find a cool article about this unique perspective  here.

3. Close View

Get close and personal with your subjects. For this one, you need a wide angle lens so the proportion changes. Take a look at the pink car in this picture. This is obviously an exaggerated perspective. The car seems huge and it takes more than half of the picture. However, do not try this with people, unless you really hate them or you want them to hate you after they see the photo. Getting too close will not produce flattering shots. It will create the Pinocchio effect.

Next time you go out and shoot, try these views and don’t forget to share some of your shots with the Balcony. What other views have you tried?

For more photography tips and ideas, check out my latest photography book, Picture (Im)perfect Photographynow available at Amazon.

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