A Low Angle View of the World

Low Angle Shooting

By getting down to a low angle, on a level with the subject, you can create a whole different perspective and show viewers a different glimpse of everyday objects.

This photo of a muddy trainer came at the end of an indoor shoot when I was trying to get my daily shot for my 365, or 366 as it is this year, project. Self employed and working from home, I often don’t have chance to get out and about to different locations – I don’t even have a daily commute through the town – so I often have to get creative with what’s around me.

The weather was miserable (nothing new there. I’m in the UK after all, and we’re not a nation of weather whingers for nothing!). I’d spent the morning alternating between my iPhone 5 and my DSLR, taking comparative shots and generally mucking about in the kitchen.

Then I spotted these muddy trainers by the door. Would they make a good photo? Who knows, but it was another object to focus on.


Low angle view of a muddy shoe
Sony A330, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/25 sec


Why the Photo Works

The shallow depth of field focuses attention on the lace, but doesn’t mask the well-worn, working life of the subject. Throwing the background into soft focus also pinpoints the shape of the trainer, making it somehow larger than life. Although it’s just a dirty shoe, I think it tells a story and opens up the viewer’s imagination.

At 1/25 of a second, the shutter speed was slow for a handheld shot. Lying on the floor, I was able to stabilise the camera by resting my arms on the floor. Normally for this slow a shutter speed I need a tripod to get a sharp image. I’m not very good at holding still, so I guess I got lucky this time. I was pleased with the result, and it was a good lesson in learning to look, really look, at what’s around me.

The biggest takeaway, I guess, is to not wait for inspiration before you get the camera out. Start looking at the world through the viewfinder or on the screen, discount nothing, play with angles, light, settings, and perspective.

Get down on the ground and see how different the world looks.

Anyone else like low angle photos?

You’re welcome to post your own examples in the comments if you feel like sharing!



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