What is the perfect portrait angle? How subtle shifts in camera position can dramatically change portraits
posted Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 6:47 AM EDT
Ed Gregory of Photos In Color has gone through rigorous testing to look for the perfect portrait photography angle. Using a controlled environment, Gregory shot portraits of the same model from 16 different positions. He shot the portraits using a Nikon D800 and Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens at f/8 in a scene consistently lit with two Elinchrom ELC1000 lights. He worked on a curve, keeping his camera six feet away from the model at all times, and shot at various angles. You can read about his precise method here.
Obviously the "perfect" angle is subjective, but in the video below, you can see that Gregory found that shooting eight inches above the model produced the look he found most pleasing to the eye. What’s particularly interesting is his chart of all the images, viewable here, which breaks down different moods of portraits captured at different angles. You can view all the images, labelled with their position, at the link above as well.
While the idea of a “perfect portrait angle” is a bit tongue in cheek, Gregory’s work is very interesting and it’s good to see how different an image can look based on only slight changes in camera position and angle. Combine that with subtle changes in lighting and you can quickly go from soft, inviting portraits to something very dynamic and intense.