a photo study: high-angle photography

This week’s photo study was motivated by Ted Forbes’ (The Art of Photography) photo assignment that explored high-angle photography.

High-angle photography is created when the photographer is situated above her subject(s)–upper floors of a buildings, at the top of stairs, up on a ladder, holding the camera above the head–and the camera is focused downwards. It is often used for the group shot as it is the best way to include everyone in an image and brings about a dynamic element not found in an eye-level image.

Ricoh GX100  f/2.5   1/143s   5.1m   80 ISO

It can also be use for a standard portrait where the subject’s eye are looking up at the camera; yet, it has the potential to have a person appear small, vulnerable, weak, subservient, confused, or childlike.

Nikon D750   f/4.1   1/500s   46mm   100 ISO

A sense of solitude and isolation can be evoked when photographing from the vantage point of looking down from the upper floors of a building. It also has the potential to bring about a sense of freedom, transcendence, and omniscience as you, the viewer, are invited to be see the whole picture. Also from this perspective, people’s faces and expressions are less likely to be part of the image and, because they are less likely to be aware of your camera, poses and actions will be more natural.

Ricoh GX100   f/3.9   1/125s   10.5m   80 ISO

When compositing from buildings, interesting images are created through the use of lines, objects, and patience to wait until someone walks into your canvas.

Ricoh GX100   f/4.1   1/200   5.1m    80 ISO

I found that street photography from “high above it all” is less likely to stir up the same degree of anxiety that I experience with eye-level photography.  Would love to see your images taken from this perspective and to read about your experiences.  Let’s tag wit #aphotostudy.

I hope you enjoy these amazing examples of high-angle photographs.


  1. Excellent post Brenda. It is fun to take such photos but it is difficult to get a clear or interesting image due to various conditions.

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