The Joy of Low Angle Flowers

September 9, 2010

Photo Tips

As summer starts to wind down, there are still a lot of flowers to be photographed! Summer garden flowers are still looking good, while fall blooming species both in gardens and in the wild are beginning to blossom.

The most common way flowers are photographed is from a position about 45 degrees above the blossom. There is nothing wrong with that; you can get good images of flowers that way. However, that angle is very limiting and makes your photo look like everyone elses.

One way around that is to get down to the level of the subject. You might consider this eye-level to a flower, for example. Now this is not always easy to do. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time sprawled on the ground trying to get this sort of shot. That can be uncomfortable; the ground is rarely soft and gentle on your body. Plus there is the challenge of getting up and down.

This is why I really like tilting, live-view LCDs. They allow you to place your camera where it works best for the shot, then you tilt the LCD and see what the camera is seeing from a more comfortable angle. They are far better than any right-angle viewfinder attachment I have seen (I really dislike them) — this live-view LCD is like using an old medium format camera where you looked down into the viewfinder to see the scene on its focusing screen. I started using such a camera with a very early Sony point-and-shoot. Then when the Canon PowerShot G-series of cameras came out, I bought them and loved the capabilities of the live, tilting LCD. I was so disappointed when they quit making that tilting LCD for a time with these cameras, but it is back on the G-11. The native bushmallow, a flowering shrub of Southern California coastal scrub ecosystems, seen here was shot with a Canon G11.

I like Live View so much that I actually went to an Olympus DSLR system (even though I had a Canon system) when they came out with the first interchangeable lens, true DSLR camera with a live-view, tilting LCD (the E-330). I have since gone to an E-3 with gives a swivel LCD for even more flexibility. The following shot of monarda or bee balm (a prairie flower of the Midwest) was made with the E-3 and I did not have to lay on the ground!

Today I shoot with both Olympus and Canon (I prefer Canon’s video capabilities and shot a 7D for that) — there are rumors of a live-view, tilting LCD in the works at Canon. I hope they announce such a camera at Photokina in September. Nearly all other manufacturers are starting to offer tilting live-view LCDs for DSLRs.

I do shoot video low, too. For that I use a Genus GVISTA LCD finder distributed by Manfrotto Distributing (Bogen Photo) that fits over the LCD on my 7D. This low-cost unit allows you to see your LCD from an angle.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 27 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Rob Sheppard is the author/photographer of over 30 books, the editor-at-large for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and a nationally known presenter and workshop leader. His specialities are nature photography and helping photographers with digital technologies from getting the most from small sensors to Lightroom to Photoshop. Check out Rob’s websites at and

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3 Responses to “The Joy of Low Angle Flowers”

  1. Ivan Boden Says:

    I believe that Canon has already announced the release of the 60D which has a tilt-out LCD screen.


  2. Valerie Jardin Says:

    Great Post, thank you! I also like low angle shots of flowers. I recently posted this one on my blog and called it ‘Cheerful’!


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