5 Tips for Shooting Low Camera Angles

Hi, have you ever wondered how you can shoot your video from a low camera angle? In fact, why shoot from a low camera angle at all?

Well, shooting video from a low vantage point has its uses. Imagine what happens when you position your camera low on the vertical axis, below the eye line and looking up. The scene becomes slightly distorted and provides a special perspective on your subject. Creative video shoots are usually shot from interesting angles like these. Your viewers are also a lot more engaged because your scene doesn't have a run-of-the-mill composition.

In this article, let's take a look at 5 ways to shoot from low camera angles

1. Go Down Low

You know, it's not easy to shoot from a low vantage point. What I usually do is to get down on my knees and try to move close to my subject, then shoot up.

This is easy if you're indoors, but if you're outdoors it can be quite a hassle. Ideally, when shooting from a low camera angle outdoors, try to find a place where there are less people around - that way you can get your shot and not intrude on others.

Shooting from low angles provides unique perspectives in your shot

2. How To Achieve Stability

Remember, when you go low, you also need to ensure your camera is stable. With a low center of gravity, there is less chance of the camera shaking too. What I try to do is to get a handle on top of my camera (there are accessories available for this) and hold it firmly when shooting upwards. A good tripod will also give you good control in these situations.

2. Composition Ideas

In some scenes, e.g. mountains and skyscrapers, it makes sense to shoot from a low vantage point. If go low on a street and shoot upwards to a skyscraper, you can imagine the audience will feel "small" while your subject will be big.

You can apply this idea beyond mountains and cityscapes and extend to anything which has height, e.g. basketball players or stacked items. I also like to use is to go down to a low surface like the road to shoot cameras or people walking from a lower vantage point.

3. Make Use Of Depth-of-Field

One way of making your low angle shots more interesting is to make use of depth of field. What you can do is to move objects closer to the camera than its focal point. This creates a "blurry" background against your subject and is fantastic to look at.

Making use of depth-of-field is a standard trick in photography, but you can apply the same in videography. It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, you can selectively focus on objects within your scene and blur out the rest.

Another example of a low angle shot

4. Hide Unattractive Items

Now, if you have an object in the scene that you want to hide, e.g. a dirty, old table or wall - going down to shoot from a low camera angle is one way of doing it. I used to shoot scenes in old buildings, e.g. a school and many times I'd go low in order to avoid shooting boring walls.

5. Staircases

One more tip on shooting from low camera angles - try to shoot staircases. I find myself using this very often. Imagine, if you want to shoot a scene of someone climbing the staircase (it could be a terrifying or whatever), you'll want a low shot capturing footsteps and have a good view of his or her shoes. I use this to good effect when trying to create some tension in a scene, especially when you don't want the audience to know who is climbing the staircase.

Wrapping Up ...

Shooting from low camera angles can create a different and inspiring feeling in your viewers. Applied cleverly, they can dramatically improve the appeal and quality of your video production. You'll need to take note to stabilize your camera though, and also have in mind some good ideas on how to use low shots to drive your story.

And that's all I have for now. Until next time, have fun with those low angle shots!

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