Camera Angle and Macro Photography - dummies

By Thomas Clark

A lot of photographers tend to overlook camera angle when they photograph tiny subjects. In macro and close-up photography, you may become so engrossed in getting close to a subject that you simply take the most direct approach, rather than thinking of a better one that’s more suitable for your subject or your message.

The camera angle is a very important factor in the outcome of your image in macro photography. Camera angle can affect your depth of field and how your subject and background appear. Remember to approach every subject from the angle that works best, regardless of how close your camera is to it.

The photograph illustrates three separate examples of camera angles used to photograph one tiny beetle:

  • A low angle minimizes how much of the background is visible and provides a viewpoint similar to that of the subject.

  • A higher angle provides a bird’s eye view, which is how you would most naturally see this type of subject.

  • An angle that was parallel to the subject’s longest side got the most out of my depth of field, ensuring the sharpest focus throughout the subject.


All images: 50mm, 1/160, f/11, 800

The lengths you’ll go to get the best angle for a particular subject or message is what sets your images of tiny subjects apart from those of other photographers. Don’t stop shooting an interesting tiny subject until you feel you have covered it in the best way possible (or until it runs, swims, hops, or flies away).