“Think about the images’ effects you want to cause on the viewer”
PART 3: How perspectives appeal
Creating campaigns or other images to promote your fashion label means that you are speculating on which visual language your costumers understand and act on. In order to stay true to your brand’s philosophy and to be seen as authentic, it’s likely to incarnate all characteristics that you want to communicate with the help of the perfect model. But not only is her or his attitude crucial, but the way how the model is photographed can cause different effects too. When you watch a movie, the points of view create different feelings towards the shown person, object, or scene. Human imagination is a very strong tool to encode messages in pictures, which not only applies to moving-images. You just have to press the right buttons. Therefore this article explains the effects of different perspectives in order to give you an idea of your options and the involved power you have with them. To revisit the movie topic, when you’re aiming for a story-telling kind of photo series, perspectives and cuts should vary. But when it comes to a lookbook or online shop images, it’s more common to shoot all images very even. Of course, you can turn the tables and do it intentionally different, because this way your photos (or your website) might be more eye-catching. It’s up to you to decide if your brand should be quite offbeat or rather classic and the following paragraphs might help you find out which perspectives you like best for that purpose.
When the model is photographed from below, she or he usually looks taller and more graceful. The fashion is coming to the fore, as the camera is a little closer to it compared to the face of the model. Other associations would be majestic, heroic, superior, strong, powerful, sculpturesque, sensual, and sexy – depending on the pose these paraphrases can be applied to the person and the fashion at the same time.
The model and therefore the fashion label may look in a way arrogant or pretentious. You should be aware of the fact that the viewer is kept at a certain distance and won’t be able to relate to the face standing for your brand so much. The low-angle shot also used to be a propaganda way of advertising nationalists as well as communists, especially in combination with very expressive hero-poses.
High-angle shots are very narrative. They are creating the sensation of being empowered to watch a situation in someone else’s life. Therefore, most poses photographed from above look like snapshots, which adds authenticity to the shown fashion. The viewers’ imagination skills get activated and the story absorbs them strongly enough to make them feel something towards your brand.
Other than in the low-angle shot, the model’s face is likely to be closest to the camera and that’s why identification happens easier here. At the same time, the fashion fades from the spotlight, and in the worst case, when the model is sitting, it’s folded together right up to shapelessness. Sitting poses can turn out to be real challenges for stylists, which is also very much depending on the fabrics of the style. Another important aspect is that the model in such a scenery seems much more vulnerable. She or he is clearly exposed to the viewers’ judgments, but this isn’t, by all means, a bad thing, because good photography is very much about this too.
Straight shots – or let’s call it the portrait mode – are very direct and therefore they often serve as covers for magazines. They can be very eye-catching because of the model’s expression as well as the worn fashion gets showcased equally. At the same time, shooting straight can be a better method to keep the background restful, e.g. when it’s blurred. This way you can enter an intimate on an eye-level situation with your viewer.
Considering the fact that everyone more or less sees people from this perspective, straight shots are at risk of appearing boring. Therefore, it’s of even greater importance that the model looks interesting, and her attitude and poses strike home. The same is true for styling, props, etc. In other words: when counting on straight shots only, everyone on set should be a perfectionist.
Full-body shots are great to show a lot of fashion pieces in one image, as well as more of the location, set, or background if you emphasize this. It also gives you more freedom when you plan to cut the pictures later, except that there are some technical limits to that. By featuring the total look, you are giving the viewers the most information possible – which in return allows them to activate their own imagination and understand the story. It’s also easier here to show the model actually doing something, rather than connecting with the audience through her expressive glance only.
As in full-body shots, the model’s face is more distant and small, it’s harder to see her or his expression, respectively to identify properly with her or him. Although your fashion gets shown to advantage, it’s a rather unemotional way to do so, because humans react to faces very much (they just detect them instantly anywhere they look – that’s why you always notice it when someone stares at you, e.g. in the subway.) Fortunately, you still have the possibility to work smartly with body language, so this is not that much of a problem.
Close-ups are good for designing images more interesting and strong because the model is usually snapped (almost) format-filling and doesn’t get lost visually. Details are coming to light very well and the less important can be left out of the picture. By taking close-ups you can hint at your fashion without being too bold about it, e.g. by showing only a part of the pants. You benefit from a stronger connection between the model and the viewer, so there are more trust and emotion towards your brand.
Close-up images are likely to mesmerize you during the shooting, maybe even more than beautiful shoes are. Above the fact that you’ll probably be disappointed to realize that you’ve captured none of those shoes, close-ups can also appear too strong next to each other and steal each others’ show. So make sure to always find a good mix.
Extreme close-ups are very usual in the beauty and jewelry genre, obviously because small details are getting scaled up. Depending on the light, they can create very intimate and human views on the model or by contrast very advertising ones. If you’re satisfied with showing a small part of your fashion pieces only, like e.g. a collar, this can be a perfect way to curry sympathy.
However, you can show your fashion pieces (especially accessories) extremely close too, and thus bring them to life. Either are these pictures great variations to mix with wide-angle shots, or they serve as in-action-product photos, which work for social media and more.
Your model’s face is key when it comes to extreme close-ups and since tastes differ, she or he won’t be able to convince everyone of your target group, but that’s a risk anyway. On the other hand, extreme close-ups that show the fashion pieces only may look very anonymous. Unless this is your strategy to create tension, aloofness, or an unbranded campaign, it’s again better to mix extreme close-ups with full-body and close-up shots – it will create a visual rhythm and better harmony.
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