Photographic Journal

Extreme Long Shot: This can be taken from as much as a quarter of a mile away, and is generally used as a scene-setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an exterior, eg the outside of a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action eg in a war film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot, as it is meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.

Full shot is a shot that shows the human figure from head to feet, with some part of the body to give context. The subject is shown and the setting is revealed, although usually not completely. This shot can give emphasis on the subject in a greater way than extreme long shot without revealing more detail.

Long Shot: Similar to a full shot, with more exposed in the background, and less detail of the subject. This shot can give a full head to toe visual of the subject and surroundings while still remaining close enough to give more detail than the extreme long shot.

Medium Shot: The medium shot is the most common shot used in movies. Every shot that isn’t a long shot or close up is a medium shot. The medium shot should generally contain all the action of the scene and it should be well matched with the flow of the long shot, so that the editor can cut smoothly or effectively at practically any point between them. It gives the ultimate balance between detail and content in a shot.

Close-up: tightly frames a person or an object. Close-ups are one of the standard shots used regularly with medium shots and long shots. Close-ups display the most detail, but they do not include the broader scene. These shots emphasize the subjects emotions or close details.

Extreme Close-up: The shot is so tight that only a fraction of the focus of attention, such as someone’s eyes, can be seen. The setting is completely left out. Complete emphasis is given to a moment’s power and this shot can often be the most expensive to carry out.

Deep Focus: commands a large depth of field. Depth of field is the front-to-back range of focus in an image — that is, how much of it appears sharp and clear. Consequently, in deep focus the foreground, middle-ground and background are all in focus. This style was pioneered in Citizen Kane and allows a large amount of action in a shot, as opposed to shallow focus, which narrows action to a single layer.

Bird’s Eye: Features a shot looking directly down on the subject, making the subject appear short and squat. This can emphasize smallness or insignificance of subjects or be an overall establishing shot.
High Angle: Includes any shot above the eye level. The point of focus is often in the setting, and the subject is naturally inferior. The figure or object can seem vulnerable or powerless, as in security camera shots.

Eye level: Is essentially a portrait, though more intricate than a simple mug shot. The figure is often in its natural surroundings, and the image says far more than merely the subject.

Low Angle: Used when WWE interviews Andre the Giant, imparts a sense of superiority on the part of the subject. Gives the audience the impression of being below or beneath the subject.

Oblique angle: Also known as a Dutch angle, emerged in the 30’s in experimental  documentaries, the angle often depicted madness or insanity. The tilting of the camera off to the side portrays the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed.

High Key Lighting: Attempts to reduce the lighting ration present in a scene. This doesn’t require consistent adjustment, and allows a shot to be finished in hours instead of days. The effect is homogeneity, and dark shadows are generally absent.

High Contrast: Shots with a small range of color, very heterogeneous, with definite shadows or lines. The subject often appears more serious and sometimes older as the appearance is more definite.

Low Key Lighting: Attempts to create a chiaroscuro effect with one key light. This accentuates the contours of the subject by throwing areas into shade while the fill light illuminates other parts. This heightens the sense of alienation of the audience and is often used in film noir or horror.

Over Exposure: The loss of highlight detail resulting in an aesthetic goal of the artist. Most of the detail of majority white areas is swallowed up into entirely whiteness. This can create a feeling of confusion in the audience and contribute to contrast with a well defined subject or subjects.

Color: The use of hues and pigments in a shot to impart emotional feelings or context to the audience. This can range from the brightness and diversity of colors to a directors choice to associate an emotion or subject with a certain color.

Skip to toolbar