Why look down on me?
Some clients come in for headshots and ask about shooting from an elevated camera position because they have heard it helps their chin look better, hides their neck and makes the body look smaller. Others simply prefer the style. I recommend having your business headshot created with a camera height just below your nose. Why?
I believe the purpose of the business headshot is to convey confidence and approachability. Most of us are in a business where we want to appear knowledgeable, yet friendly and equal to the viewer.
The following quotes address camera height (angle), do you agree with them?
From Shooting Better Video, Instructor Kathy Cennamo
“…a high camera angle tends to make the subject appear smaller in size and stature. Looking down on a subject suggests a feeling of loneliness and a lack of power.”
CAMERA ANGLES: The Art of Manipulation, by Gabe Moura
“In a high angle, the camera is above the subject, looking down. This position makes characters look weak, submissive, or frightened. They are also good POVs [point-of-view] of an adult looking at a child.”
From John Suler's Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche
”High camera angles can make the subject appear to be in an inferior position relative to your dominant and more powerful point of view. The subject is smaller, less significant, and diminished, while you are the giant. You are literally and figuratively “looking down on them.” High camera angles work well to enhance the idea that the subject is submissive, humiliated, vulnerable, powerless, fallen, being beaten down, or injured.”
From Videomaker Magazine
“High angles look down on subjects, making them weaker and less important. Low angles have the opposite effect: they increase power and importance. In making corporate videos, it's good practice to shoot VIPs from slightly below eye level.”
A headshot photographer uses posing direction, lighting, and other techniques to create a great business portrait that keeps you on equal ground with viewers while addressing your chin, body image, and other human features.
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