Tech Tips : Getting the Above Angle

I
walked downstairs and announced I was in a mood. I went into the kitchen, grabbed a glass of water, but before I could escape upstairs, JD stopped me and asked what was wrong. I itemized a few things (ending my list with and there aren't enough unicorns in my life!) and JD said it'd be okay. I stood in the hallway and swished the water in my glass. I admitted to wanting/needing change and he replied, So does that mean you're going to dye your hair?

He knows me so well.

Speaking of change, shall I change the subject to photography? Well, alrighty then...


f/1.4 1/4000 160 ISO 35mm

After posting Shannon and Bill's Orange County engagement session, Janet Cruz asked: Hey Jas, (I feel like we're friends, so if we were hanging out, I'd call you Jas, unless you asked me not to) anyway..... Wow,,,, beautiful! so, do you climb trees to get that "from above angle"? Inquiring minds want to know! Janet (you can call me "J")

Hi J! I get asked this question a bit, considering how short I am. The best way to get an above angle to have clients sit on the ground and the photographer and I position myself to crop out unseemly positions of the subjects' arms or legs. However, whenever I have the chance to stand on something to make me taller, I absolutely will do it. Here's an example of what I mean:


In this case, there were 2-foot wooden blocks acting as a parking partition, so I climbed on top of one and asked the couple to stand close to me, so I could hunch over and get the shot I wanted. You can see the wooden blocks in this picture to give you a better idea:


Standing on something to get a different angle is a great way to diversify a portfolio, especially when given an environment like a field. When everything looks the same and the background is identical, a photographer must rely on his ideas and posing skills to maximize the location. Hope this helps!

Happy Thursday!
Comment (40)
Share on


Thank you! Your comment has been saved.
Miami Wedding Photographer - The B&W photo with the pick up track is awesome!  05.17.12 - 1:12pm
Karie Murray - I LOVE that you stand on things! I am always climbing up on something to get the shot ....or laying flat on the ground. Clients think I'm crazy! And they are afraid for my life. How considerate! And I think it's just so weird that other photographers I talk to, well in my area at least, seem to turn their noses up at me and think I'm crazy too! Good to know that I'm perfectly crazy! If J Star does it, so can I!  04.30.12 - 6:40am
Bowerbird Photography - Thanks for the post! I often find that shooting from a high angle also helps to slim our subjects, so it can make for a very flattering photo that our clients love! In addition, there is a candid feeling to these angles which adds to the romance of the image. Great to see your work Jasmine!  04.25.12 - 11:09pm
Wedding Photographer Essex - That change of angle certainly gives the picture a fresh look and consciously or sub consciously grabs the interest of the viewer. Have you shown the picture you took when you were standing on the stairs?   04.24.12 - 1:11pm
Wedding Photography Melbourne - Great advice. An alternative angle can make an average photo amazing!  04.24.12 - 6:28am
Mdog - I woulda ask you to stand on one leg, rub your belly, and pat your head while taking that shot.   04.23.12 - 1:33pm
Kat - What lens are you using in the staircase shot? Thx!  04.23.12 - 12:56pm
Kristin Nicole - Yay for short photographers  04.23.12 - 10:27am
Tigz Rice // Tigz Rice Studios - I know what you mean about change leading to a new hair colour. I do this all the time! Hope your modd lifted xx  04.23.12 - 10:11am
Kerri Helms - Being half an inch under 5 feet, I appreciate this blog and have considered buying a step stool to take with me on shoots. :)  04.23.12 - 9:04am
Stefan Hellberg fotograf schweiz - Sweet, just found your blog. it is really great. Thanks for sharing. :)  04.23.12 - 7:26am
Monica - Thanks for the info. I haven't really tried this angle before but have always wanted to, and now I have the inside scoop on making it happen!   04.23.12 - 7:14am
Christy Hammond - One time I sat on my husband's shoulders for the perfect angle. It's worked and I found out just what a sweetheart he was. :)   04.20.12 - 4:38pm
Adriana Morett - It's like you read.my.mind and then post the answers on your blog!   04.20.12 - 12:47pm
Vasia - Love it! Being 5'4" I'm always looking for stuff to stand on... I've even resorted to hauling a step-stool around for really tall clients. It looks ridiculous, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!  04.20.12 - 8:33am
Lydia - You make everything look amazing! Love the behinds the scenes insight!  04.20.12 - 12:18am
Dana Fiorito - ONe of the best things about working with your husband is the ability to hang out atop his shoulders. I do it all the time....actually not all the time, because I AM aware of how completely unlady-like it is and not entirely appropriate for weddings. Ah well...they see there photos and don't care. mwa ha ha. And thanks a lot. I had all but convinced myself that the 35 was a waste of $2000.00.....maybe I'll pretend you said you use your 50mm 1.2 for all overhead shots :)  04.19.12 - 8:27pm
Elena - You take great shots. I agree, you have to change your perspective to get interesting shots!  04.19.12 - 6:27pm
Jasmine * - @TheNewDiplomatsWife @Matt...When I'm shooting down on my subjects, I'm usually always using the 35mm...it's a perfect lens for it! :)  04.19.12 - 3:47pm
Janet Cruz - Thanks Jas, I see now! Thanks for the tips, ideas and inspiration! You are simply the best!  04.19.12 - 3:44pm
Elaine - thank you for posting a picture of you taking a picture like this. Seeing how on top of your subject you get sometimes, really helps me understand how you get those beautiful face shots. As for change, I get it girl. I just bleached my brunette hair blonde for the summer! ;)  04.19.12 - 2:12pm
Cvk120 - Absolutely love your work...what lens allows you to get that close and I would love to see the resulting picture.... love that you allow Pinterest pinnings of your photo's when others don't....love how open you are to sharing your techniques.   04.19.12 - 12:31pm
diana elizabeth - oh my gosh there isn't enough glitter in my life! love the post.   04.19.12 - 12:07pm
Jackie Beale - I also find it helpful if there isn't anything to stand on, to have the couple kneel down or on their knees for an above angle, also what another blog commenter suggested: to hold the camera above your head  04.19.12 - 11:10am
Juls - I can totally relate on needed to get up above the action in order to capture the moment just right. I'm 5'2" and find I often need a few more inches (or so) to get the shot right. A friend pointed me to your blog when I was describing myself standing up on the bathtub's edge to catch a photo of my oldest son teaching his younger brother how to shave. A priceless moment given that their father passed away 5 years ago. I love your blog, your photos, and your personal commentary.  04.19.12 - 10:34am
Dylan - another tip.. Use live view, you can hold the camera above your head at arms length and still see the screen :)   04.19.12 - 10:23am
Martine Martell - GREAT tip Jasmin! It's so simple, yet sometimes in the moment... I forget these simple things :)   04.19.12 - 10:10am
Martha Davidson - Yay for climbing on random things to "get the shot." Love this job!  04.19.12 - 10:01am
The New Diplomat's Wife - so helpful. so in the picture where you are on the staircase, do you have a 35mm? is that why you can get so close?   04.19.12 - 10:00am
Faith Cherisse - Thank you for sharing your tips with us!   04.19.12 - 9:51am
Tammy - Your work is amazing. Love the tips. Thanks!   04.19.12 - 9:43am
Maggie Fortson - There is something some wonderful about capturing from that perspective, right? Love it! Thanks for sharing :)   04.19.12 - 9:43am
Haley Johnston - Great advice as always! P.S. I also announce my moods. I think it is essential so that everyone has a warning! :)   04.19.12 - 9:41am
Matt - Thanks for this post! I'm not a tall guy so I have to improvise as well. What lens(es) do you use? Reason I ask is because I find that sometimes distortion is a problem and I see in your photo with the couple on the stairs, you're pretty much on top of them!  04.19.12 - 9:26am
Debora J - Ahhhh, thank you Jasmine, but what lens then so close?  04.19.12 - 9:24am
Jennifer - Simple yet it makes such an impression. Thanks so much for the great tip!  04.19.12 - 9:15am
Christina - Great post Jasmine! Thank you for always keeping it fresh and fabulous!   04.19.12 - 9:11am
LEOLAK - You are so funny!! Will you dye your hair before the CreativeLive course so we all can see?! =)   04.19.12 - 9:08am
Gabby / En Route Photography - HeHe!!! I do that all the time!!! ;DDD   04.19.12 - 8:41am
Bobbie Brown - Awesome! Thanks for sharing... I too, loooove that shot!   04.19.12 - 8:41am
Subscribe