Low level photography – Nature Photography

Low level photography is a perfect way to photograph many wildlife photography subjects. Selecting a low viewpoint enables you to photographing the subject from their eye level, this can bring a huge benefit to the nature image.

Low level photography - Barn swallow

Low level photography – Barn swallow

It is so important to me to try and achieve a low level photography viewpoint in my nature photography.

Making eye to eye contact is aesthetically pleasing, yes it can be physically uncomfortable, often wet and tiring but certainly well worth the effort in the long run.

The benefits of Low Level Photography

1. A more pleasing viewpoint with less subject distortion.

2. The lower viewpoint increases the subject to background distance and therefore makes the background more diffused, less cluttered and unobtrusive even when using fairly small apertures.

3. Enables the camera / lens combination to be readily supported on the ground to increase its stability, using this technique with relatively static subjects it is possible to shoot as low as 1/30th second even with long telephoto lenses and still get sharper photos.

4. It is easier to remain concealed and blend in with the immediate habitat by keeping low, this gives less risk of disturbing or causing distress to your subject.

5. If there is water in the foreground (as in image 9) then the lower viewpoint will increase the length of the refection and therefore add greater impact and interest to the composition.

“With an eye made quiet by power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things” ~ William Wordsworth.

This selection of bird images below were all taken on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland and hopefully illustrate the benefits of the eye to eye approach to low level photography of nature subjects. Whilst I have selected birds as the subject this low level photography technique works equally well with mammals, amphibians, flowers and fungi.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and would appreciate a retweet if you have enjoyed this selection.

Low level photography, EiderEider (Somateria mollissima)

Low down, eye level photograph, Atlantic PuffinAtlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)

Low down, eye level photograph, Common SnipeCommon Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Low down, eye level photograph, ShagShag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)

Low down, eye level photograph, OystercatcherOystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Low down, eye level photograph, RobinRobin (Erithacus rubecula)

Low down, eye level photograph, YellowhammerYellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

Low down, eye level photograph, EiderEider (Somateria mollissima)

Low down, eye level photograph, Short eared owlShort eared owl (Asio flammeus)

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About Phil

Photographer and blogger from Scotland with passion for my photography, the great outdoors, conservation and most things arty. Inspired by nature, kindness and creativity. For more follow me on Twitter.


  1. Have just been looking at your photographs and am impressed. Very simple and beautifully finished. A craftsman.

    I am visiting Mull on Sunday for a few days with the hope of returning every 3 months to capture the seasons (if I can stand the midges). It’s refreshing to know that I can aspire to take some very special shots. I have traveled many times to the far reaches of the world and my friends are aghast that I’m spending some of my precious time in Mull. I, however, am VERY excited.

    Thank you for sharing your passion.

    Helen Webb

    • Thank you Helen for your visit and for your kind comment. Mull is a great place to live and to work and your idea to visit and capture each season is a good one.

      There is plenty to see at all times and the quality of light throughout the year will make for some good photo opportunities.

      Hope you enjoy your visit to Mull.

  2. Hi Phil – most certainly agree about being at the appropriate eye level in order to get decent shots – as your examples demonstrate. I never cease to be amazed when I see other photographers at my local venue (not as spectacular as yours, btw) standing on banks with gear on tripods taking pics of waterfowl.

    Yes, extra effort is required – but the rewards are well worth it imo too.