Camera Shots and Angles for Still Image Photography

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Camera Shots and Angles

Camera Shots and AnglesFor still image photography

Describing ShotsWhen describing camera angles, or creating them yourself for still image photography there are two main factors which you must consider:The angle of the shotThe framing, or length of the shot

Camera AnglesCamera angles are a reference to the way shots are composed. Although interpreted differently by different people, in its literal sense, camera angle is defined as the angle in which the camera is facing, in relation to the subject. Camera angles can give the audience emotional information, due to the fact that camera angle is essentially the relationship between the camera and the subject.

Different Camera AnglesEye-Level: This is the most common type of shot used, as it is the real world angle that we are all used to. It shows subjects as we would expect to seem them in real life, and is a rather neutral shot. High Angle: A high angle shot shows the subject from above; the camera is angled downwards, towards the subject. This angle has the effect of making the subject appear less powerful, or even submissive. Low Angle: This shot is taken from below the subject; the camera is angled up at the subject. It can give the subject a sense of power and dominance. Birds Eye: This shot shows the subject from directly above it/them. This view is unnatural and very different, so it can be used to create a dramatic effect, or for showing a different spatial perspective. It can also give the audience a God-like feel, which can make things included in the shot seem small and insignificant.Slanted/Dutch Tilt: This is where the camera is purposefully tilted to one side, so that the horizon is on an angle. This can create both an interesting and dramatic effect.

Framing / Shot LengthExtreme Long ShotAn extreme long shot can be taken from up to a quarter of a mile away from what you are photographing, and is generally to establish a setting (often called an establishing shot when capturing moving image). Its distance means that very little detail is shown, and thus this type of shot is used to give a general impression, rather than specific information. This type of shot will normally include exteriors, such as landscapes to portray beauty, or big exciting scenes,like fight scenes.

Framing / Shot LengthLong Shot

The long shot is perhaps the most difficult type of shot to categorise, but it is generally defined as a life size shot, which includes a full shot - full shots show an entire human body, from their head to their feet. However, long shots are not limited to full shots. An example of this is included below.

Framing / Shot LengthMedium ShotA medium shot often involves the subject being a person, and the shot only includes parts of their body that are above their waist. There can be more than one person in a medium shot, but if there are any more than three people, it tends to turn into a long shot.

Shots with more than one person are classified as variations of a medium shot. A medium shot including two people is referred to as a two shot, and one including three is referred to as a three shot. Another variation is the over-the-shoulder-shot which positions the camera behind a person, often so a second persons profile can be seen. This is useful for representing dialogue. There is little background detail required in a medium shot, but there should be enough so that the audience can distinguish where the people in the shot are, if it is necessary for them to be able to do so.

Framing / Shot LengthClose UpA close up shows very little background and often focuses on a face, or specific detail of mise en scne. Everything else is very off-focus in the background. This type of shot is often used to magnify something, or show its importance. It can be used for anything, from letters on paper to animal faces. In reality, we only let those who are special to us that close to our face, so a close up is a very intimate shot. A photographer may use a close up to make us feel more or less comfortable with someone, with the intimacy created by the shot.

A zoom lens is often used in order to get the required framing of the shot.

Framing / Shot LengthExtreme Close UpAs its name suggests, this type of shot is an extreme version of the close up, generally aiming to magnify something to an extent that the human eye wouldnt be able experience it in reality. For example, an extreme close up of a face would only show mouth and eyes, with no background detail whatsoever. It is a very artificial shot, so it can be used to create diversity and a dramatic effect.

The focus must be very sharp with this shot, so it is important that the shot is set up properly, with the correct lighting and angle, and that the photograph is taken with extreme care.