To make more unique street photos, shoot with your camera high in the air, pointing downwards:

In a prior article, I wrote about the low-angle/low-perspective street photography technique. The idea is that when you shoot from a very low angle, you make your subjects look ‘larger than life’.

The interesting thing is when you do the opposite:

Hold the camera super high in the air, and point it downwards, and use your LCD screen to frame your photos.

The reason why this technique works well: it simplifies your photos and backgrounds.


Often, you cannot control your position in the streets. You cannot suddenly run to the left or the right. But you can change the position of your camera (crouching down low, and shooting upwards // or holding your camera super high in the air, and shooting downwards)

Shooting from high over-passes

When you are shooting from overpasses, or from building roofs, and you shoot looking downwards– it is an easy way to capture a more unique perspective. 

So as a tip, try to climb up really high in buildings. Shoot from high over-passes and looking downwards.

If you’re inside a skyscraper, look out the window, and shoot downwards. 

Also when you’re shooting from a high perspective and looking downwards, try to make sure there is no clutter or distractions in your frame:

Crosswalks

Another tip:

To simplify your photos, shoot from cross-walks, and while you’re shooting– keep the corners of your frame very simple.

Looking at the above photo I shot in Tokyo, I saw simple 4 circle shapes in the hair of the woman. I juxtaposed it against the diagonal lines in the street, by holding my RICOH GR II higher in the air, and pointing downwards and shooting.

Portraits

Shooting with your camera high in the air and pointing downwards (while looking at your LCD screen) is also an effective technique when shooting portraits. I often do this when photographing Cindy, to eliminate distractions from the background.

Shooting down stairs

Also the benefit of shooting from a higher angle/perspective downwards is that you often have leading lines that point to your subject.

Also a tip:

When shooting down stairs, tilt your camera (dutch angle), to exaggerate a diagonal composition.

Another tip: when you’re walking down stairs, and you see interesting shadows, shoot your selfie, and try to make a dynamic composition with the shadows:

Shoot a lot while you’re walking down the stairs, because you never know which version of the photograph will look best:

Photographing Kids

The good thing about photographing kids:

They are naturally at a lower plane from you, thus the perspective will look unusual.

Photograph feet

If you want to simplify the photo, just point downwards. By ‘decapitating‘ the head of your subject, you make the photograph more open-ended, and mysterious.

NEXT: High Angle Assignments

  1. Climb more high buildings, and shoot downwards to make more epic photos.
  2. Experiment shooting street photography by intentionally holding your camera super high-angle, and pointing downwards. Use your LCD screen to compose and frame your scene.
  3. Always strive to simplify your photos

SHOOT ON,

ERIC

# COMPOSITION 101 >

ERIC KIM X ANNETTE KIM X BAUHAUS REMIX

Master composition for yourself:

Photography Composition Concepts

Photography Composition Tips

Color Theory

Color wheel theory: Dynamic tension between opposing colors.
Color wheel theory: Dynamic tension between opposing colors. Image from CREATIVE EVERY DAY

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Sergio Larrain Compositions
Sergio Larrain Compositions

Dynamic Photography Composition 101

Leading lines. ERIC KIM DYNAMIC COMPOSITION
Leading lines. ERIC KIM DYNAMIC COMPOSITION

Painting Compositions

Vermeer

Dynamic Photography Composition Tips

Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM
Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM

Composition Theory

Dynamic low angle composition. Tokyo, 2011 by ERIC KIM
Dynamic low angle composition. Tokyo, 2011 by ERIC KIM

Take your composition to the next level:


Street Photography Composition 101

DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS. Man and three reflections by ERIC KIM
DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS. Man and three reflections by ERIC KIM

For distilled lessons on composition, read the free ebook: “The Street Photography Composition Manual.”

Further articles to improve your compositions in photography:

Composition Theory

Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM
Woman and door. Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM

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Compositional lessons from the masters of art


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Composition pictures/grids

Eric Kim photography Bauhaus Piet Mondrian


Golden Diagonal Composition

golden diagonal composition
Golden Diagonal Composition / Kyoto Station, 2018

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