If you crouch super low, and photograph upwards, you make your subject look larger than life (like superman): 

I think Robert Capa did the heroic low-angle photograph well. I think a lot of his photos he crouched down super low, and just photographed his subjects against the sky. This gave his subjects more power — they looked ‘larger than life’:

Why do they call it the ‘superman effect’?

Imagine you were to shoot a superman movie. Let us say the Superhero actor is only 5 foot 6 inches (Tom Cruise height). How can we make him look bigger, stronger, and more powerful?

Simple: shoot with a wide-angle lens (24mm, 28mm), from a low-angle perspective.


Practice getting low

Get lower than your subject, and photograph looking up. This will add more drama to your photographs.


Do more squats at the gym

Practice squatting “ass to grass” (or ass to ground). Squat super low, and shoot looking up. Even if you don’t get any good street photographs, at least you get a great leg workout!

What I like to do is this:

When studying perspective, draw perspective lines in the background (as I have done above in red).

This will help you better analyze and understand the effect of perspective on your photos. 

Note the heightened drama of the man dancing above: photo shot on Canon 5D, and 17mm (super wide!) lens.


Avoid boring (common) perspectives

Generally speaking, photos shot at eye-level aren’t that interesting. This is because we are used to seeing the world this way. Better to be super interesting with your perspectives (super low angle, or super high angle), than to use the ‘mediocre’ (middle-average) angle.

When in doubt, get low!

Experiment shooting more getting low:

  1. Photograph your subject against the sky
  2. Look at the background for interesting leading lines that point toward your subject 
  3. Shoot before thinking: Don’t think too much when shooting street photography (shoot from the gut)

SHOOT ON!

ERIC

COMPOSITION 101

ERIC KIM X ANNETTE KIM X BAUHAUS REMIX Master composition for yourself:

Street Photography Composition Tips

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

Learn From the Masters of Composition

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
Learn compositional theory:

Compositional lessons from the masters of art


Composition lectures


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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