Photographing Low Angles

Ride 2 Recovery

Ride 2 Recovery

Each year down California's Central Coast is a charity ride for wounded veterans called Ride 2 Recovery, and each year they ride past Vandenberg Middle School down Highway 1 where the kids come out to cheer them.  This year I had the opportunity to witness the event, so I grabbed my camera and got ready. 

I had no idea this guy would ride past cranking a bike with his arms.  When I saw him down the road coming toward me I became as giddy as a school girl knowing that a low angle of him riding past would make for a great photograph.  The kids high fiving him was the icing on the cake.

Why make photographs at low angles?

Great photographs have a different perspective.  Notice how the photographer in the background is shooting from the standing position?  Other than documenting the cyclists riding down the road I doubt her pictures tell much of a story.  We already know what the world looks like from the standing position because we see it from that perspective everyday.  A picture that gets noticed isn't better, it's different. 

If I were standing to take the shot above it would have been just another snapshot.  Instead, I bent my knees and got low showing the world in a way most people don't typically see it.  When you view a photograph with a different perspective it makes you stop and think for a moment.

Whereas, a photograph from the standing position is not too different from any other photo from the standing position regardless of the subject.  I think this is most noticable when photographing kids.  Get low and on their level.  It not only shows their perspective with how they see the world, but it presents you with a different view of the world, too.

Practice getting low, shooting up, change your perspective, add angles, and find different lines that that lead to your subject. Low angles will make your pictures more interesting.