Low & High Angle Portraits Cheat Sheet
Shooting portraits from a high or low angle can help you achieve some interesting and creative results. It is important to know how changing your angle of view affects the composition and the mood of a portrait.
For example, if you want to portray more powerful and dominant look of a person – shoot from down low. When people look down at you they will appear much stronger. You can go even further by making them cross their hands and invade “your” personal space in the photo setup.
Shooting from a low angle doesn’t need to be related only to dominance. Getting down to the ground and pointing your camera and lens up will put emphasize on the model’s legs and the legs will appear longer and the model will appear taller. You can also create sexy look if you shoot a bit from behind the model and direct them to first look at you over their shoulder.
Tip: if you plan to shoot from a low angle make sure you have high ceilings in your studio as well as high background support and long backdrop. If this is not an option, consider going outside where you’re not constrained by the height of the studio ceilings. If you have access to a large flat area you can also use the sky as your background.
On the other end of the extreme is shooting from high above. Shooting from a high angle will make your model look more approachable. Making them look upwards at you will portray them as more innocent, accommodative and obedient.
When shooting from above take extra note of your floor – if you use fabric for your “floor drop” make sure that there are as little wrinkles as possible. You can also use transparent PVC or Plexiglas sheet to keep your floor both wrinkle free and clean.
Tip: If you want to get higher and still shoot full body portraits of a standing model consider getting a sturdy support such as a step ladder.
But perhaps you already know all this and you came for the cheat sheet. As we did with our head and shoulders portrait and full body portraits cheat sheets we used a simple light setup for our photo shoot. This time we used a single large transparent umbrella with a Yongnuo YN600EX flash that we controlled straight from the camera’s built in wireless controller. The umbrella is positioned on camera left point at our model at about 45 degrees’ angle. On camera right we used a large white panel that acted as a reflector.
So here’s the high and low angle full body portraits cheat sheet. As always – use it as guide, for reference and planning or any other way (to download in full resolution just click on the image and then save it). We hope it'll inspire you to get more creative shots.
What are your tips for high and low angle full body portraits? Share in the comments below.