Composition is a wonderful thing. There are so many ways to compose your shot effectively, and there are all kinds of “rules” out there as to what makes for a good or bad composition. Often you get people spouting off these rules as “the only way to compose a shot!” but they are of course, speaking complete nonsense. There are many ways to frame a shot depending on the story you want to tell, whether it’s with stills or video.
Zach Ramelan leans more towards the video side of composition in this one, offering up a number of unique camera angles, compositions and techniques that aren’t very common. At least, not effectively. But they can be very effective and a great way to tell a story and provide extra narrative and subtext to the shot.
- Negative Space – As well as being a great way to provide environmental context, it can also suggest aloneness and feeling small in a big world.
- High Angle & Birds Eye – Looking down on a scene can provide a new and jarring image that we’re not used to seeing in our daily lives, giving us a unique perspective on the subject.
- Frames Within Frames – This one’s quite a common technique for photographers, just to help draw the viewer’s eye towards the main subject. But it can also be used in video to set the scene for something that’s about to happen outside of the main frame.
- Dolly, Slider and Gimbal moves – This one is more for video and timelapse than stills, but even a very subtle movement of the camera while filming can create depth in your shot that doesn’t exist on a static camera. It can also be used for creative effect to add emotion to a sequence when paired with a static shot. Extreme movements, particularly on a gimbal can be extremely effective for adding tension or imposing a need for expedience in whatever the subjects need to do.
Although Zach’s video is aimed towards video and cinema shooters, the compositions and techniques shown can also be quite effective for photography, too. Well, at least, the first few can. Camera movement isn’t so important for photography.
I know some photographers that are consistently looking out for natural frames when they go out to shoot on location in order to “contain” the subject they really want to shoot. High shots looking straight down at the ground are quite common with drones these days, both for stills and video. And negative space has become a very popular technique since Mr Robot started appearing on our screens.
But how can you apply these to what you like to shoot? Even if you don’t think these techniques apply to the genre or subject matter you shoot, they’re worth experimenting with. You might surprise yourself!
What are your favourite unusual camera angles?