Studio Element #4: Camera Angle

Finally, let’s look at some of the different camera angles you can use to capture your subject. Broadly speaking, we categorize most shots as either:

  • Straight on (the camera is eye-to-eye with the subject)
  • Subject superior (the camera is below the subject)
  • Subject inferior (the camera is above the subject)

So which do you want to use?

In general, you want the camera to be more or less eye-to-eye. You can make the camera a little bit superior or inferior if you want, but you don’t want the effect to be too dramatic or it will work against you.

Here’s a quick explanation of the subject superior and subject inferior angles, how they work, and when you might want to use them.

Subject Superior Angle

In this shot, the camera is slightly below the subject and looking up:

This is used to show power and authority. It makes the viewer feel like they are literally looking up to the speaker.

This angle tends to work well for persuasive videos, where you want your speaker to appear credible and respectable.

Just don’t overdo it. Taken too far, a subject superior angle will make you look like a jerk, obviously not an effective way to inform or persuade your audience:

Subject Inferior Angle 

This is the opposite of “Subject Superior,” and as you probably guessed, it has the exact opposite effect. It gives the viewer the impression of looking down on the speaker:

A lot of people use this angle when they take selfies, to hide that whole double-chin thing. But generally speaking, this is NOT the effect you want for a persuasive video.

If you like, you can make strategic use of this angle once in a while to show intimacy and humility—which can help forge a bond between the viewer and the subject.

Once again, don’t take it too far, because then you’ll look TOO inferior:

From this angle, Kevin looks small, almost like a kid. Definitely not persuasive.

ACTION ITEM: Based On The Video You’re Shooting, Consider and Select the Camera Angle(s) You Will Use.