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    Change of perspective in photography – Beginning from above


    The message Change of Perspective in Photography – Start from the Top first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Ana Mireles.


    You will be amazed how a simple change of perspective in photography can take your photos from amateur to professional. Pay attention to every magazine, advertisement, exhibition, etc. And you will see that almost none of the photos were taken at eye level.

    change of perspective in photography

    1/30 sec f5.6, ISO 800

    Just by changing the viewpoint, you can completely transform an image. You can play with size, proportion, depth and many other features. However, one of the most important aspects is that you show the viewer the subject from an unusual point of view.

    There are many perspectives to choose from, in this article I will focus on positioning yourself above the subject. Now let’s look at a few choices to get started.

    Bird’s eye view

    As the name suggests, this shot means that you have to be very tall and therefore have to look at your subject from the perspective of a flying bird. With small subjects or even a portrait you can simply climb on a chair or a tree. However, you can go up to a building or tower for landscapes. There are many tourist spots with high scenic viewing points to practice.

    change of perspective in photography

    1/400 sec f5.6, ISO 100


    You don’t need specific equipment for it, but there are some things that you should consider regarding your settings:

    • When you are outside, it can be windy the higher you get, so use a fast shutter speed.
    • Even if you are behind glass, but you are not allowed to use a tripod (as it happens in most tourist places), you need to monitor your shutter speed to prevent blurry images.
    • Speaking of behind glass, be careful with the reflections. For this problem it might be useful to bring a lens hood or a polarizing filter. More tips to minimize reflections on windows can be found here.

    If you really enjoy a higher photographic perspective, consider buying a drone or looking at aerial photography.

    Creative use

    A change of perspective in photography is not only a good exercise to improve your skills, but it can also be used creatively. Here are some ideas for you to try and look at from the bird’s perspective:

    • Include an object in the foreground to take more interesting photos. An anchor in your image can guide the viewer through your image.
    • A bird’s eye view is great for taking panoramas. This technique needs some post-production to stitch your images together. This is all you need to know to do it, give it a try.
    • Finally, try creating your own miniature world by trying the tilt and shift effect. Bird’s eye is the best perspective to achieve the perfect illusion.
    change of perspective in photography

    1/400 sec f13, ISO 400 with a tilt-shift effect done in PS

    Upside down

    The name from above is pretty clear. It means that you look directly at the subject. Of course this is also a perspective that a bird could have, but it is a camera angle on its own. For this, your focus area must be parallel to the subject.

    Equipment and settings for a top-down recording


    You do not need special equipment. You can achieve this with any camera – even with your smartphone – and that’s why it’s probably so popular for food and still lifes on Instagram. It is also very popular for drone photography.

    However, there are some accessories that may be useful:

    • You must be parallel to the surface that you are photographing, so a tripod and a bubble level can make your life much easier.
    • If you use a tripod, you may need to use an extension arm or the like. This prevents the legs from getting into the frame.
    • This is not a device, but a recommendation about where to place the tripod. Be careful not to throw the shadow of the tripod, the lights or yourself on the subject.

    Creative use

    Lay flat

    Laying flat is a very popular term for blogs and social media, especially Instagram. It refers to a composition of objects that have been laid on a flat surface. There are many competitions and challenges online, search them with the hashtag flat-lay. Participate and practice your top-down skills.

    Colors and shapes

    Because there is almost no depth with the top-down perspective, you have to get the most out of the two dimensions you have to work with. Instead of being a limitation, you become creative and use composition, colors and shapes to improve your design skills.

    change of perspective in photography

    2 seconds. f22, ISO 800


    A change of perspective in photography can give you many opportunities to improve and create fun and innovative images. You don’t have to buy extra equipment or learn new techniques, you just have to move around your subject. I hope you enjoy it and if you feel like it, keep exploring with these extra articles:

    • How you can improve your photography by changing the perspective
    • The power of perspective in photography

    The post Change of Perspective in Photography – Start from the Top first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Ana Mireles.

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