Eye Level

Eye Level

Perspective is one of those crucial elements that can turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. Here are my thoughts on using perspective well!

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There are so many little facets to photography. Color, exposure, composition—you name it, there are any number of things that we can point to and say that these are the things that make or break photographs. Perspective numbers among those things. The right perspective can make something extraordinary out of something ordinary.

And that ties into my thoughts about cameras with articulating screens. Of all camera features available, from image stabilization to large sensors and all the rest, the ability to move that screen around may be one of the most valuable for many of us.

Why is that? Well, because it’s a matter of perspective. Think about our defaults when we’re walking around with camera in hand. For most of us, I’d hazard a guess that a majority of our photographs are taken from eye level. That’s just the natural order of things. When we’re creating pictures, we’re usually standing, and we typically make use of the viewfinder, so that places the perspective of each image at eye level.

Articulating screens are really nice because they enable us to hold the camera way over our heads, if we so desire, and move the screen so that we can still see the composition that we’re creating. Or it’s easier to take photographs at an odd angle, maybe even low to the ground with less bending and gyrating. Too, when we have features, we’re likely to tinker with them just because they’re there. From that standpoint, an articulating screen is almost a reminder that we can take photographs from unusual perspectives—and therefore, it reminds us to do so at times.

Beyond screens, features and our general photography habits, there’s also another factor to think about. And that is the people who will be enjoying our images. The thing about always taking photographs from an eye-level perspective? They can come across a bit static—and that’s the biggest reason why it is so important to experiment with high angles and low angles.

Think about it this way: Everyone views the world from eye level. Most of the people who will be viewing your images are the same height as you—around five or six feet, give or take a few inches in either direction. We all see everything, every single day, from very similar perspectives. So often, unless the meaning or the subject material of the photograph is enough to draw a lot of attention on its own, a standard eye level perspective just isn’t enough to make the image feel truly unusual.

If you want to stand out among the crowd? Start by looking at the world and approaching it from an angle in which it is rarely seen. Show people perspectives that they wouldn’t have otherwise paused to consider. To your viewers, eye level is commonplace. Go high or go low to help them experience the world in ways they don’t normally get to see it.