Rules of Composition Part 1 —Point of View
I’ve been teaching and working as a professional photographer for over 20 years and can say that some things never change. For example, the rules of composition in photography. Every image is unique, and every photographer has a different style, but the rules of composition remain as the guiding principles. I have discussed them so often with my students and thought, why not share them here to benefit my audience? So I decided to bring you all a series of blog posts on Rules of Composition in photography and how I use them to create dynamic portraits. This one is the first in the series and dedicated to — Point of View. Let’s get started!
Point of View in Photography
When we talk about Point of View in relation to photography, it means your camera’s position when you view a scene. It could be in your hands, on the ground, on a crane, or a drone. Personally, I like using a worm’s eye view, which means lying on the ground and viewing the scene from an angle that a worm would see. More precisely, if I don’t exactly lie down on the ground, I use a slightly lower angle, especially if there are children and pets to photograph. Getting low to the ground makes the subjects seem larger than life. It also opens a window to things we don’t normally see. Plus it’s fun because you don’t see adults lying on the ground every day just to see what things look like from down there!
Another point of view I use is the bird’s eye view, meaning an angle from where a bird sees the scene. So I climb up places to gain height and photograph the image from there. If I am photographing children, I’ll have them lie on the ground and stand above them as they throw leaves at me or look up into my camera. I put the camera slightly above for groups of people because that often results in a more flattering portrait. Jawlines become more defined, and eyes look bigger since they are slightly closer to the camera.
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Keeping the Point of View in mind as I take photographs is just one of the many rules my years of experience have ingrained in me. There are so many others I subconsciously follow and will be sharing with you. So keep an eye out for my next post about the next rule of composition known as framing. Until then, take a look at my images and identify the point of view in them.
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