There is no such thing as “the best” point of view. In photography everything is subjective. But if all your photos are taken from a standing eye-level view you should reconsider your position. Get down from your pedestal, move the camera around, kneel, lie on your belly, do everything you can to find the perfect sweet spot of your picture. Photography is like yoga in a way: you have to stretch and bend and be flexible (with your mind and your body).
The good part about photography is that nothing is as it seems. With the proper angle, you can say an entire story. Some little mushrooms become huge umbrellas. Some delicate flowers master a landscape. People’s mood and feelings can be translated directly to the camera. Here are some examples of how changing the point of view can change your photos.
Photographing people involves a little psychology. If you want an identity card like photo, take the picture from the eye-level view. If you want to diminish your subject, to make him or her look innocent, childlike, and even shorter, take the picture pointing your camera down at the subject. To give power to your subject, to make him or her looking proud and victor, take the picture pointing your camera up to the subject. There are many other perspectives that can have an emotional impact in portraits. Looking over the subject’s shoulder, getting very close to have just the face into the picture, focusing on a part of the body (hands, fingers, eyes, etc.) are just a few of the experiments you should do.
The eye-level position is very common in landscape photography. After all, why should we change the human perspective? Well, the answer is easy: because you miss all the other perspectives. Try lying on the ground, looking at the landscape from a mushroom level. Try looking at the trees vertically, with your camera over your head. Do you see how the picture is changing? Don’t be afraid to kneel, to touch the trees, to get very close to flowers and grass, to rotate the camera. Break every rule you know. Nature is incredible, is alive, and is the most patient subject.
Monuments and architecture
Monuments and buildings have a master, a designer. But this does not mean that we have to photograph them just in the standard position. Look for details, drama, accents. By taking a photo of a very tall building from below you’ll exaggerate its height, making it even more impressive. Climb the city tower and take a picture of the city from the above. Change a straight line into a diagonal. You just have to rotate your camera to change the whole universe.
Changing the point of view should not distort the truth. The aim is to tell the story of a subject with faithfulness and imagination. The photographer’s eye should see beyond the cover, lines, and common perception. Look for inner beauty even if this means you’ll take photos in an uncomfortable position and you’ll dirty your knees.