Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Camera Height

We naturally see the world from eye height. Of course, children do too, just not the same eye height. It is so easy and natural to take photographs from eye height that shooting from any other height takes some conscious effort. Even with a tripod, it seems natural to crank the legs to eye height and set up the camera.

Not that many years ago, people photographed with twin lens reflexes which naturally worked best at waist level and the viewpoints offered were often very effective.

The downside to photographing from really low is that you can't avoid capturing a lot of foreground which invariably is out of focus (unless you are using focus blending or a tilting lens). Perhaps more importantly things like grasses get in the way of seeing the subject.

However, there are lots of times that a blurred foreground isn't a problem, that a low position isn't comprommised by tall grasses and the view of the subject with a plain sky background can be very effective.

Bottom line is that we should ask ourselves with every shot - what is the most effective height?

Sometimes the best height is two feet above eye level - do you travel with a small stool to shoot from a high position - might be a good idea.


Aaron said...

Someone once made a comment on some photos of mine, noting they all suffered from "Six foot guy with a camera to his eye syndrome." Ever since then, I've been more aware of height.

ggeoff said...

Yes good point George, use a tripod and consider varying your viewpoint. but often something is seen from one's eye level and that can be the place to take the photo. I have bought a scaffold tower (not just for photography) and have a three step ladder available as well. It is also a good idea to be prepared to lie on the ground or kneal down so I wear clothes that I don't mind getting wet or dirty.

KeithAlanK said...

I have always been very aware of camera height, which is why my first DSLR had to be a Sony A300 with Live View and a tilting LCD.
I can shoot from over my head to ground level without guesswork or getting dirty.

George Barr said...

Yes, I'm very envious of your tilting LCD and will be mightily disappointed if that isn't included in the next round of Canon cameras.


ggeoff said...

I am primarily using a Canon Powershot SX10 but have the lot, well up to 5x4. The pull out LCD screen that comes with the Powershot is brilliant. I do not understand why the full frame DSL Canons do not have this option. The Powershot also has video with stereo sound. I bought the SX10 as a replacement for my Pro 1 just in case it fails. Apart from being digital the full frame cameras, of any make seem primitive compared to the Powershot type cameras.