The Most Commonly Used Camera Angles In Cinematography.

The Most Commonly Used Camera Angles In Cinematography.

There are lots of camera angles you can use to spice up your video clips, however, it is not all the camera angles you are going to see in every video production, but there are the most commonly used ones you are always going to see, and those are the ones we are going to discuss in this article.

What are the most commonly used camera angles?

The most commonly used camera angles are simply the camera angles that are necessary for or used in every video footage. Without these camera angles, there is no way you are going to shoot any video clip.

You will see these camera angles in every movie/film, documentary, music video, comedy skit, event coverage, and even in photo shoots.

Even newbies in cinematography are unconsciously shooting or using these camera angles in their video clips.

So without much ado, let me show you the most commonly used camera angles in cinematography.

The most commonly used camera angles in cinematography.

Basically, there are 3 (three) most commonly used camera angles in cinematography and they are:

  1. Long shot
  2. Medium shot.
  3. Close-up shot.

Thus, even if you are shooting a 2 minutes video clip, there is no way you are going to escape these 3 commonly used camera angles.

1. Long shot.

The long shot is also called a wide shot by cinematographers, and this type of the most commonly used camera angle is often times used to establish a shot in filmmaking by means of revealing the location alongside all the characters in a movie scene.

In other words, a shot can only be said to be a long shot when the location and the subjects are shown in full length.

Usually, long shots are used in movie scenes to create a sense of separation between the movie and its viewers.

These film techniques are going to make the viewer feel so isolated and like as if they are allowed to watch the movie only from a distance.

The main point is that they are going to see everything as it happens within the movie scene, unlike the 2 other camera angles that will show the part or details of the subject and environment.

There is also a variation of the long shot which is known as the extreme long shot and we are going to look at that in our next subheading.

In the picture above, I took a long shot of my boy standing against the entrance door of my living room.

The narrative here is to show that my boy was playing when I called him to snap the picture. You can get proof of this by his walking bare-footed and the dirt on his jean shows he’s been playing.

Extreme long shot.

In the extreme long shot, the cinematographer reveals the scene in such a way that makes the location the focus of the view, while the subject is placed very far away.

The extreme long shot is used as an establishing shot to help the audience have a full glimpse of the environment where the subjects are at the moment.

And the intention is to enable them to watch the whole action going on in the scene.

You will see this type of shot angle in a war-type film, especially when the battle is ongoing.

Now observe that in the long shot above I only revealed a little detail of the door my boy is standing against.

But in the extreme long shot above, I ensured more details of the doorway and staircase are revealed, so that the viewers can get to understand that there is a stair leading to my living room.

2. Medium shot.

A medium shot is a type of commonly used camera angle that shows the subject from the waist up.

The shot is often used to cut the back-and-forth dialogue in a movie scene. And the intention of using it is to allow the audience have a clear view of all the characters in a film.

Additionally, using a medium shot will allow the viewer to depict the body language of the subject in the movie scene as well as how they interact with their surrounding environment.

In the medium shot above, you can get to see my boy’s face more clearly.

And with this shot, will make it possible for you to give a good description of my son.

3. Close up shot.

A close-up shot is a kind of commonly used camera angle that shows the subject from the shoulders up.

In this type of shot, the subject or object can be seen at a close range, and its purpose is to help the viewer catch every minute detail of the subject.

While framing this shot, the cinematographer ensures the subject or object takes up most of the screen.

And lest I forget, this shot is very important when you are trying to show the facial expression of a subject.

Aside from the close-up shot being a kind of shot you frame from the shoulder up, you can also use this shot to draw the viewers attention to what the subject is doing. For example, if he is dipping his hands into his pocket to bring out something.

There is another variation of the close up shot whish is known as the extreme close up shot.

Below is a close up shot of my son.

Extreme close up shot.

In an extreme close up shot, the cinematographer makes the face of the subject to fill the whole frame of the screen.

This type of close up shot is often framed above the eyes and below the mouth. And it is used to convey your subjects emotion to your viewers without them saying so little or nothing at all.

Similar to the main close up shot, you can also use an extreme close up shot to draw your viewers attention to an object or motif that is very important to the narrative of your film.

Below is an extreme close up shot of my son.


The aim of every camera angle is to enable a cinematographer convey a particular message to the viewer.

There is nothing worst in a film than watching everything from one camera angle.

So always decide before hand the best camera angle that will help you to interpret every little scene in your movie, no matter how small it is.

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