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Guide: the five angles in photography

The angle can make or break a picture. We already talked about perspective, where the angle we use is essential, and today we will delve a little deeper into the concept of angle, its importance and how can take advantage of it to take better pictures.

What is angle?

“Angle”, in photography, refers to a specific position of the camera while taking a picture.

To define the angle, we need to draw an imaginary line on which our current, normal position is located. The angle will then vary if we tilt the camera to any direction.

There are different angles in photography that serve different purposes.

Normal Angle

Normal Angle

Its name is self-explanatory, a normal angle is the one in which we don’t have to move. It is the most natural and commonly used in photography. With our position, we must form a line that a is parallel to the imaginary line we established earlier. This angle lets us face straight where we want to take the picture.

When to use it: As we said, the normal angle feels more natural, but also provides a certain stability when shooting. Since it’s so natural, it represents no strain or difficulty when taking pictures.

Upper angle

Upper angle

This happens when we take pictures from a higher angle, that is, a higher position than that of the object or person we’re taking pictures of. With this angle, the person or object in the picture may appear smaller.

When to use it: As described above, this angle allows us to take a picture of an object and make it appear smaller. In landscape photography, we can obtain excellent pictures by playing with perspective.

Low Angle

Low Angle

The obvious opposite of the upper angle, this one is located in a lower position, and it is generally achieved by placing the camera on a flat surface below the person or object we’re trying to take a picture of. It has the opposite effect and makes objects, people and landscapes look bigger.

When to use it: Visually, it produces a seemingly larger object, which makes the person who took the photo or who is looking at it feel or appear small in comparison. When taking pictures of people, it makes them look powerful and imposing, which can be useful for taking pictures or leaders, presidents, celebrities, etc.

Zenith Angle

Zenith Angle

The zenith angle is kind of an upper angle on steroids. We must place the camera right above the person or object in our picture, resulting in an interesting picture without perspective.

When to use it: The zenith angle is not too commonly used because it is quite complicated to use, but it can be very interesting when taking pictures during a sports match, and can also generate a sense of vertigo in architectural photography. A classic example is one of those pictures taken from the rooftop of a building.

Nadir angle

Nadir angle

This is opposite of the zenith angle, and is achieved by placing the camera completely under the person or object we’re taking a picture of. If we’re taking a picture of a person, the camera must be placed right next to their feet.

When to use it: This angle is not too commonly used to take pictures of people, and instead it is used in architectural photography. It makes objects and people look colossal and gives a sense of grandeur.

Why use different angles?

Using the right angle in the right situation can mean obtaining the best possible picture. Each of these angles produces a different effect, and if we know them, then we can use them in different ways to achieve the results we want. Practice and experiment until you feel comfortable with one (of more) of these angles, and it can give new life to your pictures.

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