Taking photographs from an eye level is a good practice when you are engaged in the art of street photography or portrait photography. Eye level photographs will engage your viewer in a direct manner and will convey the emotions, expressions and feelings of the subject or model in the fullest possible way. Elevated photography is another genre of photography often neglected or avoided by new comers and amateurs.
Elevated photography is not aerial photography. Aerial photography involves photography done from an aircraft, helicopter and sometimes hot air balloons. Aerial photography is best left to professionals hired by governments and corporate entities with special requirements and to the select few hobbyists with deep pockets.
Elevated photography can be undertaken by all and sundry. All you have to do is raise yourself higher than the eye level of the subject/s. This is not very difficult and in most of the situations there is always a something available on which you can climb and take photographs.
In many cases, all you have to do is to climb on a chair, stool or even a table. Always, keep your safety in mind and give it due importance. You can always take assistance from someone to hold steady the table or chair so that you get the additional support and confidence and you can focus to taking the photographs.
Remember that elevated photography is best done for group photographs in which you should ideally cover all the people and each individual’s face should be visible. Form a small or medium group of people in a half round circle and make them smile or laugh, so that the photograph is engaging and you have the desired image. Always communicate with the people, keep them motivated and keep them informed about the type of photograph you are planning to take.
In industrial photography or corporate photography, you may either climb on an industrial ladder or in some cases climb to the higher floor and capture the large crowd. Some professional photographers use cranes in which the photographer climbs and takes pictures.
Elevated photography is used often in industrial photography of machines, when you are required to take photographs from top angle of the machines. Taking photographs from a certain height always adds dynamism to your photographs and allow your audience to view another perspective of the same machine or object.
Always avoid taking pictures of children from a height, as this results in weird and awkward looking pictures, with their heads and faces blown out of proportion to the body.
In landscape and architectural photography, it will be more challenging to take photographs from a higher angle. One trick is to mount the camera on a tripod or monopod, set the timer to shoot after 10 seconds and raise the setup as high as possible. In these cases, you can have an added advantage by using camera that has rotating LCD screen that will allow you to view the scene from that angle.
Taking pictures from an elevation is a good idea to get a different perspective of the landscape and is worth the extra efforts required to achieve it. With practice and innovative usage of the props available on the location, you will gain confidence and add another feather in your photography skills. Remember that no photograph is worth taking any risk to your life or limb.
Always keep safety at top of your mind. Once, you have climbed a stool or ladder, composition of photograph becoming a bigger challenge. Always, climb down and re-arrange the stool, chair or ladder and then re-compose your shot, never lean forwards, backwards or sideways. The extra efforts required are always worth it and will ensure that you enjoy your photography as a passion, hobby or profession for a long time to come.
There are many advantages of taking pictures from a height, with added main bonus as getting a unique view point of the location in front of you.