What is the Bird’s-eye View in Photography?

What is the Bird's-eye View in Photography?
All enthusiastic photographers always require a different angle to shoot their images so that they appear exceptional and distinct. One such technique is shooting from high up, better known as bird’s-eye view, which lends a unique perspective to an image. PhotograFeed gets you acquainted with the technique of bird’s-eye view in photography, along with presenting a prolific collection of eye-catching images. So, get rollin’!

Mark of a Genius

Alfred Hitchcock, our very own ‘master of suspense’, always kept the audience on tenterhooks. How did he achieve this, you ask? He did so by using shots taken from a bird’s-eye view and high-pitched screeching noises in the movie ‘Psycho’ to create tension among the audience.

Good photography serves as an inspiration to many. All you need is a good eye in order to take memorable pictures. And of course, there are camera settings and different elements that you can play with, like filters, gels, and numerous other gadgets to alter the look of your image. But have you ever given a thought to the angle from which you are panning your camera?

A good photograph does not always demand an attractive combination of colors to seize your attention. Even the perspective, composition, the angle, and above all, the idea behind the photograph play a vital role in providing for an interesting capture.

One interesting, yet not so common, trend noticed is capturing images using the bird’s-eye view. Although it initially seems like an unnatural angle, the image shows a scene that is directly overhead, wherein the main image or element is given a god-like status. With this brief introduction, look at the collection of images we have brought for you, along with helping you understand the bird’s-eye view in photography.

Definition and Meaning

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines bird’s-eye view as a view from a high angle as if seen by a bird in flight. Explaining it further, this angle is an elevated view of an object captured from above, as if the observer were a bird.

Tips to Achieve the Right Shot

Imagine clicking a person from the roof of a three-story building, or else a bird sitting high up on a wire string looking down at you. You need to achieve this perspective when you photograph an object. So, what can you do to achieve this?

✦ Stand on a chair to photograph an object.

✦ Climb up a hill and look down. On similar lines, climb to the top of a building.

✦ Use a ladder.

✦ When you want to capture large objects, use a crane, helicopter, or an airplane so that you can place your camera in a suitable position.

✦ Another option at hand is to lower the subject by digging a pit or may be by decreasing its size.

✦ If you are adventuresome, try opting for a hot air balloon ride or a gondola car ride!

So the mantra is, get up and look down!

Examples of this Technique

The Real Bird’s-eye

bird's-eye view of Paris
The above image captures the cityscape of Paris. To capture this image, you need to be standing at the balcony of a hotel, or best, head up to the terrace or roof. You’ll notice rows and rows of well-preserved buildings literally packed against each other, yet not appearing claustrophobic but comfortable. And above all, the Eiffel Tower reigning supreme! Truly, a sight to behold!

The Common Bird’s-eye

bird's-eye view of stairs
It’s a mere staircase, yet so intelligently shot. The image is captured from the top or topmost floor of the building which so clearly depicts the twists and turns of the staircase, Also, notice that the place is dimly lit, yet makes for a magnificent image. A slow shutter is used to overcome the problem of low light. You need to use a tripod or hold the camera as still as possible. That’s the reason why people in the image are blurred.

Play with Patterns and Colors

bird's-eye view cycling in greenery
This image highlights the lush green surroundings along with a man on his bicycle. But what stands out the most is the camera angle of the shot. The angle is so appropriate that the man appears minuscule when viewed from top, making his way on his bicycle through the lonely narrow lane. Also, the road cuts through the lush green trees, which captures the eye.

Play with Space

bird's-eye view of a woman sitting
The above image is an aerial view of a woman seated on a plush sofa and sifting through her iPad/Tab. You see, what ‘looking down’ can do to an image such as this? Look at this image; the composition and the right elements. It is such a simple composition, yet it is quite eye-catching.

Slow Shutter Speed

bird's-eye view of traffic trails
You are already enjoying such a great view of the city, so why not just capture the whole moving traffic? You can try this by using slow shutter speeds. But, remember to keep the camera steady, because you don’t want the cars to appear going zig-zag! Another option is to click some bokehs. All these effects can give pretty effects to your simple photos.

Application in Filmmaking

While using this technique in films, different motions and variations of the central character are captured, where the viewer also gets to see things that the character can’t. The character, while being captured, also appears short and low-set.

When a war scene is being shot, the camera angle establishes where the central character is, along with displaying events on the battlefield. Here, the camera is lifted up or hung from a height to capture the battle scene. When a large area has to be covered or shot, it is referred to as a crane shot.

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