6 Feb 2009

Photography Tutorials: Work the Angles

A reader recently asked for advice regarding photographing large objects. I’ve been pondering this for a bit and decided that all artisans could benefit from altering the angle at which they photograph their wares. What does this mean? Well, simply put, don’t just stand square in front of your item and take a picture. Remember all those horrid family portraits in front of the ___ (fill in the blank: Christmas tree/front door of house/fireplace, etc.) where everyone hated how they looked and your mom whined that her hips looked huge? Taking photographs head-on is the least-flattering way to photograph your average person, and I think this also transfers to photographing your ___ (fill in the blank: jewelry/pottery/really large, hand-carved chair, etc.).

Tip #1: have a look at other seller’s photographs – what ones draw you in? Make you want to see more? Pique your interest? They will be lit well, in focus, and more often than not, shot at an interesting angle that draws your eye into the frame.

Let’s have a look at a few examples of head-on versus angled views:

(click on images to enlarge)

Ok, so clearly my four-year-old was helping me with this today (he’s especially proud of his gingerbread house). Even if you’re just snapping images of random things around the house, there’s something far more compelling about the angled shot than the straight-on view. And, since the reader asked about large objects, this is about as large as I could find:

(click on images to enlarge)

Let’s all be honest: that first picture is awful! It’s one of the hundred or so that I took of this wonderful statue and it really doesn’t do it any favors. The second one, taken just a few steps off-center to the left, changes the entire feeling (the first photo also hasn’t been cropped and has a busy background....a topic for a later date!)

Top #2: take waaaaaaaaay too many photos. If you have a digital camera, there is no reason not to take 50 photographs (or more) of your item. Better to have too many than to realize you’re not happy with the few that you did take. If you have great weather and light, then seize the opportunity...for every one photograph that makes it into my shop, I literally have 200 that weren’t quite right. Click away!

I hope this has been helpful and, as always, please feel free to leave me questions or suggestions for future topics: I’ll do my best to help. Thank you so much for reading!

Written by Michelle of MKCPhotography


  1. Thanks for the angle tip...I'm always forgetting that! - CT

  2. Good advice, also works too with small items! So worth taking more photos than you need to improve your chance of getting that 'perfect' image

  3. Wow, this article is fantastic.
    Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

  4. Wonderful hint and made so clearly! Many thanks.

  5. Great advice! Notice how the items in the second photos look more 3 dimensional. Definitely much more interesting.

  6. Thank you so much for reading, everyone! As always, please feel free to leave questions that you might have - I'll be happy to address them in next month's feature :-)


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