- Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography
- Mastering Composition: The Definitive Guide for Photographers
- The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression
There are plenty of things you can do to try and compose a more interesting photo.
You can add layers to the shot - foreground, midground, and background elements that give the image greater depth.
You can look for dramatic lighting that gives you the opportunity to use shadows and highlights to create visual interest.
You can also strive to frame your shots from a unique perspective, like from up high or down low.
Low angle shooting, in particular, is an interesting compositional trick to use.
Low Angles Add Depth
The whole point of photography is to represent a three-dimensional scene on a two-dimensional medium such that it looks three-dimensional.
It sounds confusing, but it really isn’t!
A print, laptop screen, or smartphone screen is a two-dimensional space, but by creating a photo using a low angle of view, you can increase the perceived depth of the shot.
In the image above, kneeling down allowed the photographer to incorporate more foreground into the shot, which increases the perceived depth. The addition of the texture of the sand, and the associated shadows gives the shot more visual interest as well.
Low Angles are More Interesting
The vast majority of photos are taken from the photographer’s eye level.
And even though that’s a comfortable and familiar shooting position, it often results in photos that are also comfortable and familiar, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Part of our jobs as photographers is to help viewers engage with the shot, and by giving them an unique perspective from which to view the scene, you can more easily help them be engaged.
In the image above, the low angle of view again incorporates more foreground into the shot. Additionally, the leading lines created by the bridge’s structure give the photo more depth, and the runners appear to be taller and more imposing in the frame, which immediately commands the attention of viewers.
A Low Angle of View Emphasizes Perceived Power
As noted above, a low angle of view helps the subject of a photograph take on a more imposing position in the shot.
By virtue of that, the subject also seems more powerful and important.
This is true of just about any subject, from a landscape to a portrait to even a building.
In the image above, we see this concept in action. Though the subject is a group of small, delicate leaves, the low angle of view makes them seem more imposing, more powerful.
This is in spite of the fact that these plants are actually just inches high. Just imagine this photo had it been taken from eye level - it would be far less interesting.
More Low Angle Photography Tips
Ted Forbes of the Art of Photography offers up even more tips about using low angle photography to your advantage.
In the video below, he recounts why low angles are helpful for all kinds of photography, and explores how low angle shooting can help you generate more interesting shots.