Above: Here’s the final image. Click on it so you can see it larger (it makes it much more epic). 

Now, you’ll notice I didn’t see “the” recipe â” I said “a” recipe (because there are many), but this is one I use again and again, in lots of different situations, that’s surprisingly quick and easy to pull off. But first, a behind-the-scenes shot (below).

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot. My camera is down low on a Gitzo tripod with the legs splayed out wide about as far as they can go. I’m shooting tethered into the laptop you see beside me â” going straight into Lightroom. I think that’s Brad with some serious hip action way off to the left. Dang hippie.

There are three ingredients in this recipe:

(1) A super wide angle lens
The wider the better (here I’m using a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 wide angle zoom, and I’m at 16mm). If you’re shooting a full frame camera, this is one of those times where its full-frameness pays off because your wide angle lens are wider. If you’re shooting a crop sensor camera, a 24-70mm won’t get you wide enough, even at 24mm â” you’re going to need something wider, like a 10mm or a 12mm wide angle (but not a fisheye). Think “super wide.”

(2) You need to get down really low 
Really super low (like you see me above). I’m not quite comfortable with lying down to get the ‘epic’ look, so I’m using a tripod with the legs splayed way out, but this getting low part is incredibly important to creating the bigness of the shot. Once you’re down low, it’s really important to get the floor in front of you in the shot â” it’s key to the bigness of the look. Also, if you can include the ceiling and the floor in the same shot, it really takes it over the top.

(3) You need a great location
I know that kind of seems like it goes without saying, but if you try this technique and your shot doesn’t look “epic” you have to ask yourself if you’re shooting in a location that is really interesting. I was shooting yesterday on the front porch of a beautiful gothic church and I did this technique and it just looked great (but I actually just put the camera right on the floor â” tilted it up on my camera strap, and took a blind shot to start, and just tweaked the position a little. It looked great. Ya know why? It was the right technique WITH the right location.

So really, if you’re already shooting at a great location, it’s really just two steps.

Above: Here’s the flip side behind-the-scenes shot, but this was taken a few minutes before I realized I wasn’t getting low enough to make the shot look really epic, so after this was taken we took my laptop off my tripod stand, and I used that tripod. Off in the distance is my team (Hendricke doing make-up and Lexi doing hair, Brad and Julio and Lynn helping on the set and Kalebra doing all the art direction and styling). 

Anyway, next time you find yourself shooting in a great location, try going for the big ‘epic’ look by using these two steps: (1) Use a super-wide angle lens, and (2) get down really low, almost to the floor, and include lots of the floor, and ideally the roof, in the shot.

Hope you find this recipe helpful, and here’s wishing you an ‘epic’ weekend with lots of amazing locations. :)

All my best,

-Scott

About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.

29 Comments

  1. Great stuff Scott, I use this a lot when doing wedding photography

  2. Wait…the churches down South have porches? Or did you mean Porsches? :-)

    As in cooking or baking, sometimes the best recipes are the simplest. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

    –John

  3. All ambient light? What was your ISO? Great work.

  4. The composition could be better. The statue is cropped, the cropped content on the left and the floortiles don’t add anything to the picture.

  5. Epic! Thank you for sharing the BTS Scott.

  6. nicely done. So many different leading lines keep the eye returning to the bride. . . and that’s what it’s all about. Technique with purpose.

  7. Glad to see you are following my recipe for that shot for a change instead of me following all your previous recipes for an epic image! LOVE IT!

  8. Reminds me of your awesome Rome video where you put your camera down for a building shot. I believe your tip was something along the lines of “stick it where you shouldn’t,” but I’ll always remember it as “get your glass on the grass” ^_~ Think I’ll try that out this weekend! Thanks, Scott!

  9. WOW – “epic” may understate it! Stunning in all aspects, thank you for posting it and the BTS.

  10. Great post Scott thank you is very interesting here ypu are a very interesting site http://www.kerkinstore.es

    thank again

  11. Oh lovely one … but i must say you are lucky enough to get such a venue to shoot …

    • Absolutely — that makes all the difference in the world. The tip was what to do when you get to an great venue. Yesterday’s church shoot wasn’t nearly this amazing, but I still did the technique and it came out great. :)

  12. Great technique just like shooting automotive it gives the shot a more dramatic look and perspective to it

  13. i love use of “free space”….gives unique perspective and feel to photo…

  14. Thank you for another good tip.
    But I think you forgot the most important tip : wear stretchable/elastic jeans.

  15. Dear Scott, Great stuff as always, you are the dictionary for my photography :-).

    Would like to see more recipes like this.

    Regards

    Vidhyaa Kris

  16. Love how you did that shoot, and love your article i got through the door today in ‘Digital Camera’ magazine in that article i noticed that it had your age with it and was amazed that your 53 as i thought that you were in your mid 40s! Anyway love your work keep it up!

  17. That awesome bride helps too :)

  18. Great tips, thanks for sharing

  19. […] You can visit his homepage from here. And read more about the technique from here. […]

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