How do you choose your point of view?

During your photoshoot you make all sorts of choices. You choose your subject, your depth of field, your distance to the subject, your lighting and your point of view. You might often choose to shoot from your eye height, while some subjects actually photograph better from a different point of view. Which options are there, and when do you best choose one or the other? In this article I’ll explain all about your point of view.

There are different point of view options to choose from. Maybe you know them, but do you actually use them in your photography yet? Let’s check out all point of view options and more important: when to use which one.

Worm’s-eye view

What is it?

A worm’s-eye view is named after the actual view a worm might have. A worm is usually low on the ground and looks up into the world. You don’t necessarily have to lay down in the grass to use a worm’s-eye view. Any point that is obviously below human’s-eye height and the ground is called worm’s-eye view.

Examples:

When do you use it?

A worm’s-eye view works well when you want your subject to appear larger. Anything closer to your lens seems much bigger than anything further away. This effect is stronger when you choose a worm’s-eye view. Playing with big and small is fun. Imagine a small toddler, a puppy or a little flower photographed from below. They’d turn into giants! Also choose the worm’s-eye view when you want to show more of the sky, and less of the ground.

Bird’s-eye view

What is it?

A bird’s-eye view is from above, like a bird would see the world from the sky. You don’t need to photograph your subject from a hundred metres high to get some cool results. Anything that’s obviously above eye level up to anything from the absolute top counts as bird’s-eye view.

Examples:

When do you use it?

A bird’s-eye view is a good trick to make a subject seem smaller or more vulnerable, or to create a wider view of the environment. It’s quite often used in food photography and landscape photography. You can also use it to show more of the landscape and less of the sky.

It’s also fun to play with a bird’s-eye view to ‘fake’ a situation. Just like the guy in the example picture who looks like he’s standing on one finger. Spoiler alert: he’s not actually standing on one finger 🙂 He’s comfortably lying down on the floor while being photographed from above. He had you there for a second, didn’t he?

Eye level

What is it?

Eye level is the height in which our eyes are. It’s the way we experience life on a daily basis.

Examples:

When do you use it?

When you want to show the world something in the way we’re used to, use eye level. It’s often used in photojournalism, street photography, architectural photography, portraits and landscapes. It shows your subjects in a natural way. It makes the viewer focus on the subject, and not get distracted by the point of view. It’s also likely to make them feel like part of the environment showing in the photo, as if they’re actually standing in it. It doesn’t really matter whether your’e tall or short. This only shows when you’re really close to your subject.

Which of the points of view do you choose?

So, there’s 3 options: worm’s-eye view, bird’s-eye view and eye level. Which is best? It depends on the situation and on what effect you want to achieve. Worm’s-eye view is used to make your subject seem bigger, or to show more of the sky. Bird’s-eye view creates the opposite effect: it makes your subject seem smaller and more vulnerable. It shows less of the sky, and more of the landscape. A photo taken on eye height feels natural, because it’s the point of view we are used to in every day life. It’s often used in street photography or photojournalism, but it’s also perfectly possible the best option in other kinds of photography.

Fun experiment: choose a subject and try all possible points of view. See for yourself what the differences are. Also, don’t forget to check out if your best result fits our current Photo Contest!

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