This is now one of my signature styles, my camera is secured up high and I create a scene around us. Emily Freda Sharp once described my photography style as ‘building worlds’, which I thought was the perfect description.
When I first started this style photo, I used to stand above Sienna, stretch my arms up as high as I could get them and take a photo. Which was all well and good, but I always had to crop the photo to remove my feet. Also the camera angle was always skewed. Whenever I tried to get in the frame it was super hard, it turns out I don’t have super long arms.
These days I can always get the perfect view from above, no need to crop and no skewed angles. I’m frequently asked how do I take these photos. You might assume its some high tech equipment or better still – an Instahubby. Well you’ll be pleased to know, you don’t need either. I use a technique that Erica Shaw shared with me. There’s no technical equipment needed or an Instahubby, just you and a little DIY on your part. So here’s my step by step guide.
Steps when using a mobile phone
1. Firstly, you need to find yourself some Cardboard, big enough to support your phone and make a little phone holder.
2. Cut a piece of card a little bigger than your phone and bend the edges making a flap either side, essentially creating a little shelf.
3. Tape this you to your ceiling using DIY tape. Once it’s attached to the ceiling you can simply slide your phone in the phone holder and you have the perfect (albeit ugly) phone holder, to capture your perfect view from above.
4. You’re now ready to go. You’ll need to use a self timer app such as Apimac to remotely capture your photos. Within your self timer app you can choose your settings for how many photos you want to take, and how long you want to delay taking the photo.
Note: If you have an IPhone and an IWatch that’s even better. As not only can you use your Iwatch as a remote and a timer, but you can also view what you’re doing in real time. This is an amazing feature, if you’re an extremely awkward person in front of the camera, like I am.
Steps when using a camera (with WIFI)
1. Find a small sturdy box, wide enough to hold your camera, making sure that you can insert the lens too. Draw around your lens.
2. Cut out the circle to create a hole for your lens to go through.
3. Tape the box to your ceiling. I recommend you buy extra strong DIY tape, as it has to hold the weight of the camera, for some time. I use Gorilla Tape. I haven’t tried this with a DSLR, only a Compact System Camera, so make sure this method is strong enough to support your camera.
4. Use the WIFI on your camera and the camera app on your phone. I have a Canon M10 which is compatible with the Canon Camera Connect app. The best feature is being able to view what i’m doing in real time.
The images below show how I build my scenes using my phone. Using the live capture in the app, I can see my scene step by step. I can see if anything is out of place and quickly fix it. I found once I starting using this technique my photos took on a whole new life, as I could be more adventurous with my creations.
Top tip: Always capture you photos in 1:1 mode, if you want the final photo to be in 1:1. it ensures everything you want to fit in your photo will.
I hope that’s helped answer everyone’s questions, that I frequently get asked when I create this style photo. If i’ve Missed anything, leave a question or comment in the comments below.