49 : Overhead

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Looking Down…

This week we are going to practice shooting from overhead, a very "on-trend" style that allows the photographer to tell a story by setting a scene in a fresh and intriguing way.

Though we have touched on overhead angles already, this week is dedicated to making images that capture a moment in time exclusively though showing relevant details in a "birds-eye-view" composition.

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  • When you’re taking images from above, you’ll almost always want to be shooting with a focal length of 50mm or wider. (35mm, 24mm, etc). If you are working with your kit lens, you’re already in this range.

  • As you’re framing your image, be sure to keep your camera parallel to the ground. An non-straight angle will throw off your straight lines and can make the image feel uncomfortable.

  • Look at all the details in your scene as you think about composition.

  • You’ll want to use an f-stop of 3.5 or higher to keep your pictures sharp. When shot from above, your depth of field will need to be wider because (often) the tops and bottoms of your subjects are a considerable distance apart.

  • When shooting outside, keep an eye on funny shadows. Consider using an area that is entirely in the shade, or make sure that any shadows in your picture fit with your intended composition and tone.

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Creative Prompts

Parents have plenty of experience looking down on children from an overhead position, so images from this vantage combine a familiar viewpoint with a documentary flavor. If your kids are older, enjoy capturing their personalities and interests from this perspective. (they may welcome the opportunity to be photographed in a style that is currently very cool!)

A few other ideas for overhead pictures may include photographing your children:

  • Lounging on the floor with some favorite "stuff"

  • Preparing a meal

  • Playing cards, doing a puzzle, or playing a game

  • Swimming

  • Reading or doing homework

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Share your images!

As always, we look forward to seeing your images in the Facebook group! If you have never posted a picture, it's fine to start any time. The Facebook group is a positive, no-judgement zone. We also hope that reach out for advice or help if you need it!