Posts Tagged ‘levels in photography’

Using Levels in Posing

In this post we’ll discuss the use of levels in photographing portraits.

To learn about these principles and put them into practice, take The Art and Design of Photography at the CPLC.


Levels in Portraiture

One of the simplest tricks to make your photos look more professional requires only a one-step stool or small ladder.  A common theme through most people’s photos of themselves and their families is that they’re all taken at your eye-height.  Occasionally we will crouch down to take photos of our kids, but even here most often people will take these shots from their adult-standing-height.


Hollywood movies (at least the mediocre majority) used to largely hold to this as well.  Steven Spielberg, in his film E.T., turned this concept on its head and brought his cameras down so that most every shot in the movie is shot from a 8-year-old’s eye-height, most famously pointed out in the opening shot which is just a set of car keys hanging out of an adult’s hip pocket.

This same concept has been used for years by photographers to add interest to their groups of shots.  Even if nothing else changed, simply having some of your shots at eye-height, some from a crouching or laying position, and some shooting down from a one or two-step ladder, immediately makes your session more engaging and interesting to look at.

The first shot in this series is taken from the photographer’s eye-height.  The next, directly below, is taken at a downward angle, on a step ladder and positioning the subject lower down the hill.


Next, we have a picture taken from ground-height, while the pose is also brought down to add a new dynamic to the shoot.


In addition to the photographer’s height-perspective shifting, a similar effect can be achieved by altering the height of your subjects in portraiture, as seen in the below photo.


Try to keep the level of your lens as well as the levels (sitting, standing, lying, crouching) of your subjects constantly shifting to make your session of photos more dynamic and interesting.


To learn about these principles and put them into practice, take The Art and Design of Photography at the CPLC.