“How do I capture a meritorious people portrait?” This is one question that revolves in the brain of many budding photographers. Generally speaking, you only need a camera and a face to click a good portrait photograph. However, that only remains a ‘good’ portrait not a ‘great’ one.
All that a good portrait has is a face reflecting some expressions but a great portrait reflects an emotion, a feeling, a story of its own kind.
Playing with angles was never a fun thing to do in the geometry class but in portrait photography it can add a lot of mirth. The fact is that, there are no definitive angles that are used in people portrait photography. It is up to you how you see the subject, what you want the others to perceive and what feelings you want to signify through you portrait photograph. This can be achieved by using basic camera angles which can add fun and bring that ‘magical element’ in portrait photography.
High Angle Portrait Photography
Change the angle and give your portrait a real WOW factor. When you place yourself at a greater height than your subject, the picture is bound to create interest. This is known as high angle shot. At this angle you may make the person appear smaller. This is the trick is to make the subject less significant, even scary. Use a variety of expressions to arouse pity, vulnerability, even weakness. You may use this for taller people.
Eye-Level Camera Angles Portrait Photography
This is the most common camera angle used in portrait photography. The camera is positioned at the eye level of the subject. This angle calls less attention to the camera’s presence and may make the viewer feel like he is in the same space as the subject, confronting it directly.
It is seen that most portraits have the subject looking down the lens. It is actually done to create a real sense of connection between a subject and the viewer. The subject appears more relaxed and comfortable. But as a photographer you may experiment several other things.
Two of the tricks are mentioned below:
Looking off the camera
The camera is placed at eye level and the subject is looking in some other direction. It leaves the viewer wondering about where the subject is looking. Moreover, it naturally reflects authority. Remember any great names with such a photograph?
Looking within the frame
When your subject is looking at something (or someone) within the frame. Like a man lovingly looking at his daughter. When you give your subject something to look at that is inside the frame you create a second point of interest and a relationship between it and your primary subject. It also helps create ‘story’ within the image. Nonetheless, these are the most caption able images.
Low Angle Portrait Photography
For a low-angle shot, you need to position the camera below the subject. It makes the subject appear much larger than they are. It makes them seem strong, powerful, imposing or intimidating. Photographers often use a low angle when making portraits of presidents, leaders or athletes.
Canted Camera Angle Portrait Photography
A camera angle is canted if you turn the camera to one side so that the picture plane is no longer parallel to the horizon.
Canted camera angle is achieved by tilting the camera. It evokes imbalance, transition and instability. However, it may also suggest a feeling of excitement, suspense or fantasy to the viewer. Use this angle if you want to make your subject look thinner or if you want to capture a simple yet unusual portrait.