Photo Tip: Taking Aim

by Sonya Murphy on December 29, 2009

Have you ever wondered how to place your camera to get the best formal shots of a person?  Today I’m going to give a simple little tip that can really boost the quality of those formal pictures.

Lets say you want to take head and shoulder shot for a formal picture.  The key to this type of portrait is to keep the camera at the person’s eye level or slightly above.  This will give you a more flattering look for the person and can help minimize any distortions.

Ok, now you want to take a picture of most of the person but not the full length shot.  Then the guide to this is to aim the camera at the person’s chest level.  Again you want the camera pointed straight and directly at the chest level.  Be sure to not have that lens tilted up or down even slightly or you’ll get more of a distorted look of the person’s body.

Now you want to capture a formal full length portrait of an individual.  What you need to do is position your camera at that person’s waist level.  Again, be sure to keep the lens pointed straight at the person’s waist, making sure that the lens isn’t angled up or down or you’ll get a more distorted look.  Of course, you’ll have to bend over or lower yourself so as to look into the camera view finder to take the picture.  Yet, the results will be more flattering to the person you’re taking the picture of.

These are guidelines for more flattering formal pictures, but once you’ve practiced this, then experiment using the camera at other positions.  Study the results to see what it does to the person.  The position & level of the camera can make a person look thinner, wider, emphasize a large nose or bring attention to beautiful eyes.   This can open up a whole new subject on taking flattering pictures of people, which I won’t go into here.

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