Shooting at eye level is the default position for most photographers. By simply playing with perspective, however, you can change the story behind an image and make it immediately more interesting.
Find one subject and use it to try the following exercises in perspective.
Shooting from a low angle—with the camera placed below eye level, lens pointed upward at the subject—changes the narrative of your image almost instantly, making the subject before you seem taller, more powerful, and more commanding, transforming even already tall subjects like a tree or building. Getting low can also reveal the immediate foreground of your frame, which can help add context to an image.
Shooting from above—with the camera placed above eye level, lens pointed down at the subject—changes the narrative of your image just as effectively. In this case, subjects look smaller and more vulnerable; you are in a physically “superior” position. Depending on the context and application of other techniques and effects, it can make a viewer feel very powerful and omnipresent, or even impart a feeling of surveillance as if you are watching the subject, Big Brother-like, from above.
We’ve all seen those images: someone seemingly “holding” the sun in the palm of their hand or “pushing over” a landmark like the Leaning Tower of Pisa with a finger. Such optical illusions are created using the technique of forced perspective, which makes an object appear farther away, closer, larger, or smaller than it actually is. There’s no one “correct” way to do it; you simply have to experiment and get creative about the positioning of objects, the correlation between them, and the vantage point of the viewer.
Feeling ambitious? Try your hand at drone or aerial photography and get really high up there. Just make sure you know and abide by local regulations as in many countries, drones are viewed as ‘unmanned aircraft’.