One of the best way to create engaging photo: Do not only take photo from “head-on” perspective. Head-on means we shoot subject/object exactly from front side at eye level height.

Jakarta, 2018

Shoot head-on can lead to make “boring” photo, because as normal human we see the world in eye level height everyday. As what I wrote in previous post The Weirder The Better:

It is the same with the way we create our photos. I believe the more surreal effect or the weirder it looks, the better the photo is. As human who has constant daily activities day by day, we love to seek something different that able to please our senses. Therefore, the unusual looks of our images can help to please our audience as well.

Jakarta, 2018

For analogy: We tend to think it is easier to photograph things when we have trip overseas, simply because we feel unfamiliar with our surrounding. Everything feels different than what we used to see everyday. Therefore, create photo that looks “different” or unique to grab audience’s attention.

There are several dynamic angles that we can use to create more dynamic photos:

Low angle

Jakarta, 2018

One of the most common way to shoot on the street other than head on angle. Shooting from low angle will bring “superhero” effect that make subject looks more dramatic.

Shot with 24mm lens. Jakarta, 2018

Especially if we use wide lens (35mm or wider), our main subject will “get distort” that make them looks bigger, therefore lead to create a stronger presence. We can lead audience’s eyes to our main subject easier rather than shoot in normal angle (head-on).

High angle

Jakarta, 2018

While shoot from high angle can make subject look less significant (the opposite of low angle effect), but we may get more context about surrounding around subject.

Jakarta, 2018

Most of the time when I want to shoot from high angle, I always pay more attention about things that happened around subject rather than the subject itself. Like in the photo above, the “tense” moment of a person  crossing street is the most important part. Not the subject’s character.

Shot from a bridge. Jakarta, 2018.

Additional tips: Like in photo above, shoot from a high position place, and try to capture people’s shadow as main subjects. At the right time (like golden hour in morning/afternoon time), people’s shadow will longer than the real person, and that ‘s the perfect time to tell story based on shadow’s gesture.

Diagonal angle

Jakarta, 2017

Want to do street portrait but confuse how to make it looks engaging? Try diagonal angle to add more dynamic effect. Move your camera slightly at right/left side of subject’s nose. “Force” subject to tilt their head a little. Combine it either with low or high angle effect.

Jakarta, 2018

This way, they also will move their eyes to our camera and make photos more natural and “spontaneous”, does not look too stiff like a formal portrait. We will capture more of “movement” on their face expression. Diagonal angle also works really well for general portrait photography included for studio use.

Dutch angle

Original shot with dutch angle. Jakarta, 2018.
Rotated to straight line.

Dutch angle means we tilt our camera position, so horizon line is not at straight position. In cinematography, the Dutch angle is one of many cinematic techniques often used to portray psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed (Wikipedia).

Notice in 2 photos above, the one with dutch angle feels more dynamic and edgy, compare to “normal looks” at straight line position.

Shoot from side position

Jakarta, 2018

Most of the time when I use this angle, I will use it to create silhouette of people’s face contour (Read here for more about silhouette). Basically silhouette is the result of significant difference between strong light at subject’s background and low intense of light at subject’s foreground.

Jakarta, 2018

Silhouette will add mysterious effect to subject’s appearance, which is will “force” audience to use their imagination when sees our photo. Read here for more about Shoot Mysterious Subject.

Jakarta, 2018

That is all my thought about shooting subject from various angles. Feel free to experimenting yourself and find your style!


Nico Harold

Little notes:

I’m truly sorry for delayed post, I’ve been so busy and a lot of things going in my mind lately. Definitely will try my hardest to back to my usual pace (less than a week to create a blog post). Thank you so much to you, my readers. You guys are the main reason for me to keep going writing this blog!