Behind the photo: Bird’s eye view

Finding the right place to do an overhead photo

I often photograph couples in Old Montreal and it’s easy to slip into habits and re-use the same photo locations.

So on one of the first hot days of summer, I was wandering around the Old Port, camera in hand, scouting for fresh viewpoints and photo angles I could use for an upcoming wedding. After about an hour of walking in the sun, I was hot, tired and ready to wrap it up. But just then, I happened on a tiny oasis, a small green yard tucked away where the Lachine Canal meets the Old Port.

Down in the yard by the canal locks, I took off my shoes and sat down to enjoy the cool, fresh grass on my toes.

The Old Port boardwalk ended just above me, with a balcony overlooking the grassy enclosure I sat in. It was the perfect spot to get a bird’s eye view of a couple lying in the grass!

While I often do this type of overhead shot, I usually only get to stand on a bench, so the photo ends up cropped tighter, usually at the waist. This time, with some extra elevation, I’d be able to get a true bird’s eye view.

Finding the right time to do it

Soon. The idea fidgeted in the back of my mind, waiting for the right opportunity. A rainy day wouldn’t work. Would any brides be willing to lay down in their wedding gowns? Several photo sessions went by without getting the chance to try this new spot.

Finally, I was back shooting in the Old Port, with a friendly couple, on a beautiful sunny day. And since this was an engagement session, Laura and Nicholas were totally game to lay down in the grass. In fact, it was such a relaxing experience they didn’t want to get up when the photos were done! :)

Wide-angle view of a couple lying in the grass photographed from the boardwalk above

Wide-angle view from the boardwalk above, shot at 24mm focal length

A tighter view of just the couple, shot at 44mm focal length

A tighter view of just the couple, shot at 44mm focal length

Engagement photos: bird's eye view of the couple lying in the grass

After a little cleanup in Photoshop to remove dead leaves and grass

Engaged couple kissing in the grass

A tighter crop, shot at 100mm focal length

Couple lying in the grass in the Old Port, Montreal

And we’re back to human’s eye view ;)

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