Angle Shot in Photography

The Dutch angle is one of the photography/cinematography techniques in which all you have to do is tilt the camera for a different angle while clicking a picture.

The term can be defined as – a shot where the horizontal line of the object is not parallel with the bottom of the frame, whereas the vertical lines form an angle with the sides of the frame. This technique has many interesting stories about the names it has got. It is called a Dutch tilt, canted angle, oblique angle, or a German angle.

Why a German angle if it’s Dutch, you ask? In German, the German language is called “Deutsch”, and this was the original name. As years passed, the name was misspelled and ‘Deutsch’ became ‘Dutch’. So, this angle comes from Germany and it has been used since 1920.

The German directors used this technique when the Expressionist movement came in. As years passed, it came into Hollywood and was used in horror films. Many directors like Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Billy Wilder, etc., have used this technique and we all see the great outcome of it.

With this short history, let’s move on to how and why it is done. You can have a look at the photo gallery below and move on to understand the concept better.

What is Dutch Angle?

You must have already got a fair idea from the definition and the images presented above, so let’s move on to the finer details. First, understand why we take a straight picture. We match the lines with the frame to get the perfect straight picture. A horizontal line indicates stability and the vertical line indicates the right angle. This method focuses on considering the diagonals, instead of the straight lines. This will help to show the drama of the moment to a greater extent. You just have to tilt the camera in an appropriate angle, decide the composition, and focus!

Purpose

  • The main purpose of this angle in films or photographs is to show instability or tension of some kind. Not only that, it is used to show funny or light-hearted scenes too, which proves that it all depends on your creativity.
  • Another use of this shot is that it gives ample space. You can fit in extravagant heights just by tilting the camera. It gives you a wider perspective like a wide-angle lens.
  • The Dutch angle is also often used in automobile photography. This is done to give the showroom (static) car a more appealing look.

How to Use Dutch Angle

  • In movies, a special axis head is used to utilize the Dutch angle. The shot can be still or some panning and zooming can be done.
  • You are free to do variations in this angle, like starting with a normal angle and then shifting to the Dutch angle or maybe starting from one side and then reaching the other side.
  • In photography, find an appropriate acute or obtuse angle. This will give it some creativity.

Some Tips

  • Think about how a tilted angle will affect the lighting. Make a fair guess and then shoot the object.
  • While shooting a Dutch tilt, make sure that you shoot the same scene in the normal angle. This way, you will have a backup if that angle doesn’t seem appropriate, and in the end, you can choose which one looks the best.
  • This type has gained appreciation as well as criticism; hence, take care to not overdo it. Remember, a Dutch angle can create a great impact if used properly, or will get you criticism.

    The Dutch angle is just one of the techniques which makes an image visually aesthetic. Learn the other essential things as much as you can, and practice. Last but not the least, it is YOUR photography and you have the freedom to do it the way you like. Remember, you may not get the perfect shot at the first attempt, but click, click, and click. Practice, and in no time, you’ll reach your goal.