Here’s a challenge:  How do you capture a perspective from a very high angle, when there is no balcony etc. like you would find at the back of a church?  Well, today we answer that question!

The Photo

unique-angle-on-wedding-ceremony-venue-photo-650(Click here to view a larger version!)

The Equipment and Settings

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon 18mm f/4 AIS (Old manual focus lens, impossible to find but razor sharp!)
  • Giottos Tripod
  • 1/1000 sec @ f/8 & ISO 200
  • Built-in intervalometer for continuous shooting @ 3 sec intervals
  • (For cameras without an intervalometer, an accessory such as an Aputure Remote Trigger is required)
  • Manual Exposure, Manual WB, RAW

How We Shot It

There are three main obstacles when you want to capture an image from this perspective:

  1. Firstly, of course, is camera shake.  You’ll need a fast shutter speed and in this situation, the “general rule” of 1/(focal length) is not very helpful. Even though the above image was created on an 18mm wide angle lens, I opted for a 1/1000 sec shutter speed.  Why?  Because I wanted to be certain that every single image was tack sharp, even if my hands were shaky or if the tripod swayed / wobbled a little bit.
  2. Secondly is the obvious challenge of getting your camera to click a photo without being able to reach the shutter.  You have quite a few options in this situation, but personally since I shoot on Nikon DSLR cameras, I simply program my built-in intervalometer to shoot continuously at 3 second intervals.  This way, I don’t have to reset my camera or check the image after every single image I click.  I just hold the camera up for 5-10 clicks, trying to keep the camera balanced.
  3. As you might imagine, framing is not easy for images like this.  It helps to give yourself as much “wiggle room” as possible, so that you can make slight (or serious) horizon tilt corrections in post-production.  Shooting on an ultra-wide lens always helps, or even a fish-eye lens if you don’t mind the distortion however often times with even the slightest bit of downward composition, (such as in this image) …a fisheye lens will show YOU the photographer at the bottom of the frame!  Sometimes that’s okay, of course, if you’re planning to crop to a panorama anyways such as in this case.

Here is what the scene looks like from eye level, and what the photographer (myself in this case) must do in order to achieve the high angle:



Of course, keep in mind that both images are “keepers”, the high angle and the low angle alike.  It is just good to create different options and perspectives for your final product!

The Post-Processing

This image practically “processed itself” perfectly in one click, using an HDR-style preset from the SLR Lounge Preset System, which is available for both Adobe Bridge CS6, and Lightroom 4.  The preset takes a single exposure and boosts the shadows while preserving the highlights, thus giving the appearance of the image being an HDR from a single click.

I added a minor amount of burning and dodging to darken the sky and brighten the central area, and the image was finished!  Here is the before and after:



The SLR Lounge Preset System

The SLR Lounge Preset System is designed to enable users to achieve virtually any look and effect within 3-5 simple clicks. From basic color correction, vintage fades, black & white effects, tilt-shift effects, faux HDR, retouching, detail enhancing, and so much more. The sky is the limit with what has been dubbed the most powerful and intuitive preset system available. Click the link above to learn more/purchase!  The SLR Lounge Preset System is now available for both Lightroom 4 and Adobe Camera Raw! (Bridge CS6)