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The Power of Perspective in Photography

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How you shoot a scene determines what kind of story you want to tell and what kind of mood you want viewers to feel when they look at a photo. The power of perspective is beyond the consideration of your photography subjects; it is about the angle of your camera, your proximity to the subjects and what you include in the frame that plays an important role in your final image.

Below are examples of different perspectives and why you’d want to take a photograph in that way.

Examples of Different Perspectives

Shoot from a low position and straight on – to get the perspective of a child

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-low-and-straight-on-1dps

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Shoot downward – to get a sense of scale (ie, that the child is small), to eliminate distracting elements in the background, or to get natural catchlights in your subject’s eyes

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Shoot upward — to turn tall scenery, like trees or cityscape, into the backdrop

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-upward-view-1dps

Shoot wide – to show the environment

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-shoot-wide-1dps

Shoot up-close – to give an intimate feel or to highlight a particular action or detail

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-up-close-view-1dps

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-up-close-view-2

Include reflections – to give an additional dimension to an image

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-reflective-view-1dps

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Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-reflective-view-3dps

Shoot behind things – to make it feel like you’re peeking into a private moment

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-shoot-behind-1dps

Annie-Tao-Photography-Perspective-Article-shoot-behind-2dps

What you’ll find is:  PERSPECTIVE influences a viewer’s PERCEPTION!

Conclusions:

  1. Before you press the shutter, take a moment to think about how you want your subject to be perceived in the image. Is there anything you want to highlight? A story you want to tell?
  2. You don’t need fancy camera equipment or a bunch of expensive lenses to create different perspectives. You just need creativity and the ability to move around…and BAM! You have it all.

Have you got some others to share? Please do in the comments below.

For more on perspective see these:

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Annie Tao is a Professional Lifestyle Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who is best known for capturing genuine smiles, emotions and stories of her subjects. You can visit Annie Tao Photography for more tips or inspiration. Stay connected with her on her Facebook page

  • Annie Tao Photography

    A really good point, Cal!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Ah, I understand your situation now! I think the 50mm will be great because you can use that in low light AND get close enough to your subject. The 70-200 is an awesome lens, but you really don’t use that for Newborn Photography.

    If you only have those 2 lenses, then it can be a little tricky because you’ll be taking most of your photos with 1 lens. Not much variety there, but it’s all about your clients’ expectations. I started out with 3 lenses (24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8 and 35mm 1.4) and built my business from just these, so I don’t think the lenses will be the hard part.

    The hardest part of a Newborn Shoot (to me) is knowing how to manage a newborn and new parents who may be nervous about a crying baby, etc. If you feel comfortable with that part of it and you believe your clients are aware of your capabilities as a photographer, then I say GO FOR IT. You have to be confident to take this job.

    One more point: All photographers shoot newborns differently, so you don’t need a macro lens if you don’t capture a lot of detail shots. A 50mm lens is great for capturing the entire baby, headshots, the mom holding the baby, the family together, etc. So you can stick to the things you CAN shoot.

  • Yuliya Brown

    ok, thank you! I might then skip macro and just rent 24-70 again and skip macro this time. I did the maternity shoot for them and I rented that lens and I loved it. I know people complain about this being odd focal length for APS-C, but I really loved it for indoors. Thank you very much.

  • Annie Tao Photography

    I think that’ll work well! Have a great shoot, Yuliya!

  • Yuliya Brown

    thank you so much! you are the best!

  • Sarah Williams

    Great tips! Will be putting them to use on my next shoot!

  • REGINA

    This article is one of my favs!

  • Really liked this Not only was it strait forward and easy to read but there were a lot of examples. I am a visual person and some times can get lost in the words but if there is a picture or something to do I find I can figure it out better. Thank You!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    I’m a visual person too, so I’m glad the way I wrote this article resonated with you. 🙂

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Waaaahoooooo! So happy to hear that, Regina! 🙂

  • Annie Tao Photography

    I’m glad to hear my article gave you ideas to try on your next shoot, Sarah!

  • Quan Vinh

    Nice tips. I really like the illustrated photos 😀

  • Marginean Andrei

    This is awesome!!!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    So glad you think so! 🙂

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Thanks for your comment, Quan!

  • Amy M. Kirk

    Annie, I’ve looked at your photography before, and let me just say what an enjoyable experience! Nice POV suggestions here. Thanks!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Very cool! Thanks so much for checking out my work, Amy. I’m glad you liked this article. I’m always trying to come up with new tips, and it’s hard sometimes because the web is saturated with articles and videos already… so your comment makes me happy! 🙂

  • Symbolistsla .

    Hi there MIss Tao, nice photo of the girl. But the background of the white light, you have to watch out with that….The bokeh is off….try to get more greenery at the back..nice though. Where can i find more of your photos?

  • Symbolistsla .

    oops! sorry anne, i found your site. great stuff…but once again its the highlights in the background…try shooting with a higher speed to get the photos balanced metering/exposure..

  • Annie Tao Photography

    “The bokeh is off”?? Not sure what you mean. And to “add more greenery” in the background is a critique I’ve never received before. How green or how much green isn’t up to me, but rather nature. 🙂

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Ooh, you sure are commenting a lot, Symbolistsla, with critiques no less.

    You get highlights when it is bright outdoors. I expose for my subjects, not the background, so having light-colored bokeh (the highlights you mention) is normal. If you meter for the background on a bright day, then your subjects will most likely be underexposed. The way around this is with additional lighting on your subjects, whether with a reflector or artificial light (strobe, etc), however that takes away from the spontaneity that I believe is necessary in capturing lifestyle images of children.

    My main objective when I’m photographing children is capturing their beautiful expressions and personality. Metering for the light in the background is never a priority. Thanks for your concern.

    I write articles because I enjoy helping other people, and that is it. If this article was helpful to you in any way, I am really glad! If it wasn’t, then you are free to find another article that resonates more for you. Thank you.

  • Saphira-Lover

    Just wonderful! When you think deeply about how the photographer possibly had to retake each shot a few times to find the best one of each set, you truly understand how amazing they can be.

  • V. Mason

    Thank you for this wonderful article, very informative! I will introduce these awesome techniques to my photo class.???? Thanks Annie!

  • Saad Haad Rifai

    Good deed indeed !!!!!!

  • Adedotun Ajibade

    Truly inspirational article!

  • Bryant Jaquez
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