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Heads up
While photographing we often look straight ahead or a little down or up, but not very often 90 degrees above us. One reason for this is of course that it’s simply inconvenient and causes dizziness, especially with a camera in front of your eye, so we avoid this view.

Articulated screens make your life easier

Articulated screens are a blessing. You can shoot from the hip or right above the ground without eating dirt. In addition they help a lot when you want to make pictures right above you because you don’t hurt your neck and get dizzy anymore when trying to look at the ceiling and make pictures. I wouldn’t buy a camera without an articulated screen anymore, it became a fundamental feature for me.

Equipment and best practices

When making pictures above me I normally use wide angle lenses, either a wide angle zoom lens like the Olympus 9-18mm or even a fisheye lens like the Samyang 7.5mm for an even wider view. Especially in churches the fisheye distortion doesn’t bother me and the large angle provides dramatic perspectives. The camera I use is the Olympus PEN E-P5 – the articulated screens helps a lot as already mentioned.

I often create multiple exposures to create an HDR photo, in churches the light that comes to the windows is much brighter than the rest of the scene and outside you usually face a large contrast between the sky and much darker buildings. To get a better dynamic it helps to combine multiple exposures (I use three) to one picture.

The stabilizer of my cam helps me to get three equal pictures without camera shake even in low light. A tripod is also a good (or even better) option of course but quite often it’s not allowed to use one in churches. I combine the pictures in Lightroom (it’s possible to create HDR pictures since Lightroom 6) and adjust the lights and shadows.

Outside

Let’s see some examples of pictures I took outside, pointing the camera 90 degrees to the sky. Good subjects are tight streets like in Malta or Toledo or the skyscrapers in cities like Frankfurt.

Ceilings and other indoor pictures

You can find nice ceilings in churches of course but also other buildings can provide an impressive architecture and view. These are some examples from Madrid, Rom and Toledo.

These were some examples of interesting pictures from subjects above you. Keep in mind: Heads up and take a look at the subjects above you, you might miss some interesting pictures if you don’t ;).

If you have further ideas, tips or questions please write them in the comments, thanks!

                              

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Pierre Aden

I’m a photographer located in Frankfurt, Germany. When I am not travelling / taking pictures I like to play Table Tennis / Squash or watch TV Series. I work in a German bank in the Anti-Money-Laundering department.

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