Sometimes you’ve just gotta put your face, and your camera, right down on the ground. Yep, down on your hands and knees, elbows in the dirt, maybe up close and personal with your subject.
If you’re like most of us, you make the majority of your photos from your standing eye level. You’re walking around and see something interesting so you put your camera to your eye and snap away. Nothing wrong with that, except that it gets boring when you’re always seeing the world from the same vantage point.
Getting your camera down low presents a view of the world that not a lot of other people take the trouble to experience. This simple technique works for wildflowers, family portraits, and even broad landscapes. It can put you eye-to-eye with your subject, too.
I especially like to photograph small plants, and their flowers, from ground level. That way I can look right into the flowers, or show the structure of the plant as it arises from the soil. Often, I don’t even need to use my tripod since I can put the camera itself on the ground and brace it with a small stone or stick.
When I get down in the grass to photograph a family, I usually have them lie down as well. This works particularly well for families with small children and creates a casual and comfortable portrait.
Photographing from a low angle doesn’t require any special equipment or lenses. All you need to do is get yourself down on the ground. Avoid the temptation to worry about getting dirty. That’s what laundry and bathtubs are for.
Next time you’re out making images, try the low-angle variation. Don’t worry about looking silly, either. That almost always comes with being a photographer in charge of the situation.