How to compose a photo - simplify the scene - shell on the beach

Creative Photography – a low viewpoint

A low viewpoint

Creative photography doesn’t need lots of expensive equipment, it just needs a bit of creative thinking. One way of finding new inspiration is to change your viewpoint. Most of us easily get into the habit of taking photos from our usual eye level. We bring the camera up to our eyes and take a picture of what we see from our usual eye level. The results risk becoming a bit predictable, so it is good to introduce some variety. This can be done by trying something as simple as taking a photo from close to the ground instead of standing up. You could crouch down, kneel or even lie flat on the ground, depending on what your knees will allow! Suddenly, this simple change results in you seeing the world in a very different way. You can see the same objects or the same view in a whole new way simply by taking a low viewpoint instead of photographing from eye level. One obvious application is when photographing children, for example. Try getting down to their level or even below and you’ll find that you get quite a different image compared to if you are standing up. Or, you could try something along the lines of the images below. In one you can see a photo taken looking down at a shell on the ground. This is the kind of view we are used to when standing up. Then, there is an image taken laying flat on the ground with the sea and sky forming the background for a shell. This different viewpoint brings a totally new perspective.

Shell on the beach-1
Shell on the beach – viewed from above
Shell on the beach-2
Shell on the beach – from a low viewpoint

You can also try a more adventurous low viewpoint such as photographing along the water’s edge as the waves break. Obviously you wouldn’t want to be lying down there. But with a bit of care you can bend down and position your camera closer to the water’s surface and get a new angle for a landscape or seascape image.

Low viewpoint landscape
At the water’s edge at Morfa Nefyn in Wales
Low viewpoint landscape - Kingsgate Bay
A seascape at Kingsgate Bay

I encourage you to try a different viewpoint for a familiar scene. Try getting down low, discover a new low viewpoint and see how it changes the scene. If you have a camera with a tilting screen you may even be able to get away without having to go too low yourself. But, if you are able, it can be good to get yourself down low and look around, take in the world around you from a different level. Don’t just take pictures, engage in some creative photography that will help your images be fresh and intriguing.

© Joe Lenton, October 2014

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