Most of the time, you have a variety of options on camera placement while taking a picture. However, there are certain circumstances where “perfect camera placement” is essential. Even if you don’t consider yourself a perfectionist, it is a good idea to “practice perfectionism” in these cases. Below are a few examples where getting camera placement exactly right made a big difference.
First, if you are going for symmetry in an interior cathedral shot, the camera has to be perfectly centered. Look in the lower right and lower left corner as well as the top of the image and you’ll notice it is perfectly symmetrical. Cathedral shots (or any shot with symmetrical detail like this) have to be taken dead-center. Spend the extra time to get your camera positioned perfectly. One inch to the right or left can ruin the shot.
Second, wide-angle lenses with foreground subjects in the composition often require perfect camera placement. Sometimes, the perfect place for your camera and tripod isn’t always the most comfortable location, such as with the shot below. However, in order to get the splash of the wave to be a prominent part of the composition, there was one option for camera placement. Because of the wide-angle lens, moving my camera back a little would have resulted in the wave being a much smaller, and less significant, part of the composition.
It is Carnival in Venice this week, so I’m using an image from my trip there a few years back as another example. For this picture, there was really only one good spot to shoot from… laying on the floor underneath the piano and shooting up at the model. This made the dress closer to the camera and caused it to distort into a triangle shape. An eye-level shot would not have worked as well in this case. So, it is worth taking your time and trying a number of different perspectives in order to arrive at what you consider to be the best possible camera placement.