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!

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  1. Bobbie Brown

    April 19th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing… I too, loooove that shot!

  2. Gabby / En Route Photography

    April 19th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    HeHe!!! I do that all the time!!! ;DDD


    April 19th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    You are so funny!! Will you dye your hair before the CreativeLive course so we all can see?! =)

  4. Christina

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Great post Jasmine! Thank you for always keeping it fresh and fabulous!

  5. Jennifer

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Simple yet it makes such an impression. Thanks so much for the great tip!

  6. Debora J

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Ahhhh, thank you Jasmine, but what lens then so close?

  7. Matt

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    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!

  8. Haley Johnston

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Great advice as always! P.S. I also announce my moods. I think it is essential so that everyone has a warning! 🙂

  9. Maggie Fortson

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    There is something some wonderful about capturing from that perspective, right? Love it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Tammy

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Your work is amazing. Love the tips. Thanks!

  11. Faith Cherisse

    April 19th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing your tips with us!

  12. The New Diplomat's Wife

    April 19th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    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?

  13. Martha Davidson

    April 19th, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Yay for climbing on random things to "get the shot." Love this job!

  14. Martine Martell

    April 19th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    GREAT tip Jasmin!
    It’s so simple, yet sometimes in the moment… I forget these simple things 🙂

  15. Dylan

    April 19th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    another tip.. Use live view, you can hold the camera above your head at arms length and still see the screen 🙂

  16. Juls

    April 19th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    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.

  17. Jackie Beale

    April 19th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    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

  18. diana elizabeth

    April 19th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    oh my gosh there isn’t enough glitter in my life! love the post.

  19. Cvk120

    April 19th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    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.

  20. Elaine

    April 19th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    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! 😉

  21. Janet Cruz

    April 19th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Thanks Jas, I see now! Thanks for the tips, ideas and inspiration!
    You are simply the best!

  22. Jasmine *

    April 19th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    @TheNewDiplomatsWife @Matt…When I’m shooting down on my subjects, I’m usually always using the 35mm…it’s a perfect lens for it! 🙂

  23. Elena

    April 20th, 2012 at 1:27 am

    You take great shots. I agree, you have to change your perspective to get interesting shots!

  24. Dana Fiorito

    April 20th, 2012 at 3:27 am

    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 🙂

  25. Lydia

    April 20th, 2012 at 7:18 am

    You make everything look amazing! Love the behinds the scenes insight!

  26. Vasia

    April 20th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    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!

  27. Adriana Morett

    April 20th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    It’s like you and then post the answers on your blog!

  28. Christy Hammond

    April 20th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    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. 🙂

  29. Monica

    April 23rd, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    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!

  30. Stefan Hellberg fotograf schweiz

    April 23rd, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Sweet, just found your blog. it is really great. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  31. Kerri Helms

    April 23rd, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Being half an inch under 5 feet, I appreciate this blog and have considered buying a step stool to take with me on shoots. 🙂

  32. Tigz Rice // Tigz Rice Studios

    April 23rd, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I know what you mean about change leading to a new hair colour. I do this all the time!

    Hope your modd lifted xx

  33. Kristin Nicole

    April 23rd, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Yay for short photographers

  34. Kat

    April 23rd, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    What lens are you using in the staircase shot?

  35. Mdog

    April 23rd, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I woulda ask you to stand on one leg, rub your belly, and pat your head while taking that shot.

  36. Wedding Photography Melbourne

    April 24th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Great advice. An alternative angle can make an average photo amazing!

  37. Wedding Photographer Essex

    April 24th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    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?

  38. Bowerbird Photography

    April 26th, 2012 at 6:09 am

    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!

  39. Karie Murray

    April 30th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    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!

  40. Miami Wedding Photographer

    May 17th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    The B&W photo with the pick up track is awesome!