It is pretty interesting to see how a change of angle can affect an image. This no means has to be a drastic change, but even a subtle shift from standing up in the vehicle to sitting on the seat change to drastically change the whole presentation and reading of your image.
Photographing these two tykes in the Mara Triangle, I wanted to capture and convey the story that was sitting right before my eyes: one lion cub staring with intent at the one in front of it. Having just relaxed after a play fight, I was pretty sure the cub at the back was getting ready for round two, and this intent is what I wanted to capture.
What I like about the image:
The use of shallow depth of field enabled me to soften the focus on the cub in the background, holding my viewer’s gaze to the cub in the foreground. The amount of depth of field is enough to still make the cub in the background identifiable, along with the direction of it’s gaze.
I find the symmetry of the two cubs positioning appealing, and their bodies coming in from different sides of the frame , heightens this for me. I find the story and composition strong enough to keep my eye focused on and in the image.
What I don’t like about the image:
My angle. Shooting while standing up in the vehicle is great, but in this case not so much. With the cubs being in a depression that was lower than the road, my height from the cubs was made more evident.
Why this is not ideal?
I have immediately portrayed my subject as vulnerable and taken away their power by photographing them at a high angle. The angle you photograph your subjects is such an important aspect to remember and be aware of. Although the viewer might not be conscious about the affects angles have on the subject, our subconscious is most definitely aware of it, and changes our reading and interpretation of the image.
With this in mind, take a look back at the image above and see how you read it now.
I would not use the image above for anything else than an example image. Just because of the high angle and its affect on the reading of the image.
Taking a seat from standing, the new angle I was now at from the subject changed my perspective of my subjects and their story completely. Now more level with the cubs, it gave them back their power and stature, which in turn affects how the viewer reads the image.
Although the cub in the background is mostly completely hidden behind the cub in the foreground, it intensified the power and story of the image as the overall picture is more focused. The stare is also more intensified as the hidden state of the cub creates more tension in the image.
Your positioning to your subject and the angle you photograph them plays a lot into the reading and portrayal of your image. It may seem so simple and such a small detail, but as you can see above, its impact is far from that!