Hannah’s Smartphone Photography Tip #1: Use Different Angles

As part of my commitment to get real pictures of real people living real life into the hands of everyday people, I’m committing to sharing some of my smartphone photography tips. You don’t always need expensive equipment to take a good picture. In fact, the equipment is only as good as the person using it. So let’s make the most with the equipment you have!

First, all of my photos are taken on an iPhone 12 Pro Max. No, you do not need the latest and greatest iPhone to take great pics, and yes these tips apply no matter what sort of device you’re using. When I started sharing these tips, I was using a two year old iPhone 8, and the same principles applied. All of these photos are straight from my phone and have not been edited.

Now I don’t have any children, so my pup Mae will have to serve as my model in this lesson. Bear with me, she is not a big fan of pictures, much like the children you may be photographing. 🤪

Angle #1: Pointing the camera down toward the subject

In this first group of pictures, like many of the pictures I see posted on social media, I was standing while Mae was standing/sitting (she has a mind of her own, again, much like the children you’re probably photographing) while I was standing as well. Because I’m much taller than my 40 lb Australian Shepherd, the photos reflect that I was taller than her when they were taken.

Now there’s nothing wrong with this, and there are certainly opportunities where photos like this make the most sense. But sometimes we want the photo to be taken as if we’re on the same level as the subject.

Angle #2: Pointing the camera even with the subject

In this photo, I squatted down to photograph Mae straight on. You can see the difference in the photograph from the first position simply by moving to her level.

I prefer to be at a similar or slightly taller level than my subjects. For human subjects, I actually like to be just a touch taller for a more flattering angle. For animals, I like to be right square on with them. Same with something like a flower and other inanimate objects.


Angle #3: Pointing the camera upward from below the subject

For a more artistic look, I’ll move my camera below the subject and angle the camera upward.

This is not the always the most flattering angle for a human subject depending on how close you are to the subject. But with some creativity, you can make some really awesome and artistic photographs by using this camera angle. I like to put my camera at ground level and see what different details I can pick up, like the sun ray in the picture above.

The beauty of photography is that none of these are right or wrong. Some angles will work better in different situations and for different types of subjects. A photo of a flower blooming in your garden may look better with position 1. A photo of your dog may look better with position 2. And a photo of a killer sunset may look better in position 3.

Next time you grab your phone to snap a pic, play around with these angles. Pay attention to the differences in details you notice by capturing your photograph at different angles. Try this out, and let me know what you think!

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