There is a wide variety of types of shots. To facilitate communication within the technical team, it is necessary to establish a series of rules to name the desired frame.

In this post you will learn how the types of shots are categorized and how to recognize them instantly.

Cinematographic shots (types of cinema shots)

All types of shots must have three specific characteristics, a size, an angulation and a point of view. Depending on these characteristics, there will be one type of shot or another.

Types of shots according to their size

The frame of the shot can have different sizes, this will determine the first name of the shot. We will start with the widest to the narrowest shots.

Extreme long shot:


This type of shot refers to a very, very wide frame. It is usually used as a presentation of spaces or to show solitude in the character.

A extreme long shot is the result of careful planning and execution. Taking into account wind, light, angle and distance, a photographer can capture a truly stunning image.

The key is to take the time to set up the shot before pressing the shutter release. Once you have found the perfect composition, you just have to wait for the right moment to capture it. With a little patience and practice, anyone can learn to make plans of this type.

Long Shot:


It is a bit tighter than the extreme long shot, but in essence it is a very similar shot in terms of width in the frame.

This type of shot is often used to set the scene and give an idea of the character’s surroundings. It can also be used to capture emotions and reactions.

Long shots are often used in conjunction with other types of shots, such as close-ups and medium shots, to create a more complete picture of the story. When used effectively, they can help create a more immersive experience for the viewer.

Group Shot:


This is a closer framing than the long shots ones but still allows two or more characters to appear in the same shot.

Medium Long Shot or Cowboy Shot:


Refers to the frame that covers the character from the knees to the head. In Spanish-speaking countries it may also be called medium long shots.

This type of shot is often used to introduce a character or to show the subject in his or her environment. the medium long shot can also be used to create a sense of scale, as it allows the viewer to see both the subject and its surroundings.

Although the medium long shot is not as intimate as a close-up, it provides more information than a long shot. It is therefore a versatile tool that can be used in many different ways. When used effectively it can help create a powerful and evocative cinematic experience.

Medium shot


This shot provides a waist-to-head framing of the character to be portrayed. In film and television, a medium shot is a camera angle that shows the subject from the waist or chest. It is a standard framing for interviews, conversations and other scenes with a lot of dialogue.

Medium shots can also be used to show characters performing simple actions, such as typing on a computer or making a phone call. When combined with close-ups and long shots, medium shots help create a complete story that engages the viewer.

So the next time you watch your favorite show, pay attention to the camera angles used. You may realize the importance of medium shots in conveying the story.

Close-up (CU):


The foreground is a close-up of the character’s face, cut off below the chin. A close-up is a cinematographic technique that allows the viewer to see details that would otherwise be invisible.

It can be useful for revealing expressions and emotions, as well as providing information about the character’s appearance. Close-ups are often used in conjunction with other shots, such as full shots and medium shots, to create a more complete picture of the scene.

When used effectively, close-ups can help create a more intimate visual experience.

Extreme Close-Up (ECU):


It is even closer than the close-up shot, cutting above the chin and above the eyebrows. In cinematography, a extreme close-up is a close-up shot in which the subject fills the frame.

This type of shot is often used to emphasize a character’s emotions or to create a sense of intimacy. It can also be used to highlight small details that might otherwise be lost in a wider shot.

When shooting extreme close-ups, it is important to use a lens with a very short focal length to avoid distortion. This type of shot is usually used sparingly, as it can be quite shocking to viewers if used too often.

However, when used correctly, it can be a powerful tool for telling a story on film.

Detail Shot or Insert Shot:


This type of shot refers to very close shots that portray some object or some very specific action.

As a general rule, the tighter the shot and the closer it is to a extreme close-up, the more tension and emphasis it will have. On the other hand, the wider the shot, the greater the emotional distance between the viewer and the character.

However, this does not imply that this should always be the case. It is necessary to know the rule in order to learn how to skip it.

I personally encourage you to experiment yourself with shot sizes and the feeling you can produce in the viewer.

Types of shots according to their camera angle

Another characteristic to take into account when naming a shot is its camera angle with respect to the character or object to be portrayed.

To analyze this characteristic we must make another subdivision, the vertical or horizontal axis.

Vertical axis:


Bird’s eye view or Overhead shot:

This is the type of shot that portrays the character or object from above. The overhead shot is a technique that consists of shooting a scene from above. This unique perspective can help create a sense of drama or tension, and can also be used to highlight certain landscape features.

To achieve this perspective, the camera must be placed at a high point, such as on a hill or building. From this vantage point, the camera can capture the full scope of the scene below.

Overhead shots are often used in action or thriller films, as they can add a sense of urgency or danger to the story. However, this technique can also be used in quieter scenarios, such as in documentaries about the natural world.

Whatever the subject, overhead shots add an element of interest to any film.

High angle shot:

Without being entirely on the vertical axis, the frame comes from a greater height than the character or object. This type of shot is often used to show superiority over that character.

A high angle is a type of camera angle that is shot from above the subject. This technique can be used to make the subject appear small or insignificant, or to create a sense of unease or vertigo.

High angles are often used in thrillers and horror films to increase suspense and create a sense of fear in the audience. They can also be used in comedies to make characters look silly or clumsy.

In general, high angle shots are used to convey a sense of helplessness or vulnerability. When used effectively, they can be a powerful tool for creating an emotional response in the viewer.

Eye level shot:

When the shot is in front of the character. When the vertical angulation is frontal, it is not usually communicated, unless otherwise specified, it is understood that it is a front shot.

Low angle shot:

This is the opposite shot to the high angle shot, with a similar angulation but below the character. It is usually used to give value to the character. A low angle shot is a camera technique that consists of pointing the camera upwards towards the subject.

This perspective can make the subject appear larger than life, and is often used to convey a sense of power or dominance. Low angle shots are also sometimes used to create a sense of unease or foreboding, as the viewer has the feeling that they are looking at something that could do them harm.

Whether you want the subject to appear heroic or menacing, a low angle shot is a good way to achieve the desired effect.

Nadir shot:

It is the antonym of the overhead shot, this shot contemplates the scene from below. This type of shot is often used to capture the details of an object that would be difficult to see from ground level, such as the interior of a building or the top of a mountain.

Nadir shots can also be used to create a sense of scale, showing how small humans are in relation to their surroundings. To make a nadir shot, simply point the camera upwards.

For best results, use a tripod to keep the camera steady. Experiment with different angles and viewpoints to get the shot you want.

Horizontal axis:

Front Shot:

This is when the camera is in front of the character or object to be framed.

Three-quarter shot:

The three-quarter framing refers to the type of shot that portrays the character diagonally, that is, between the frontal and side shots.

Side Shot:

Portray the character completely in profile.

Foreshortening shot:

The foreshortening is the type of shot that portrays a character from behind. The word foreshortening is also used to refer to a part of a character that enters the plane of another character.

Dutch angle o Dutch tilt: This type of plane is used to generate tension by creating diagonals. To aberrate the shot means to rotate the camera on its own horizontal axis to unbalance the horizon.

Depending on the point of view

Objective shot:

This is when the camera is at a neutral point, observing the scene without intervening with the characters in any way.

Semi-subjective shot:

The shot shows what the character is seeing or where he is focusing his attention, but keeping in mind the character in the shot itself.

Subjective shot:

It is similar to the semi-subjective shot, but differs in the presence of the character in the shot. This type of shot is easily confused with a first-person shot.

First person or POV (point of view) shot:

This shot tries to put us completely in the eyes of the character, turning the viewer into the protagonist of the work.

Types of photographic shots

When determining a name for the framing we could use the same nomenclatures you have just learned in this article.

Types of television shots

As for the framing we can use the same name as in the types of film shots, however the most used in television are:

Group shot

This is the most common type of shot used in television, since we usually have two or more presenters.

Medium shot

The most common thing in television is to see medium shots, from waist to head.

Types of moving planes

There are different camera movements that give the shot an evolution of its own.


Zoom is a type of optics with a variable focal length, this allows you to change the framing without having to move the camera. For zooming there are two types of movements:

Zoom in:

The plane becomes more closed.

Zoom out:

The plane goes from closed to more open

Tracking shot or Dolly shot

The tracking shot is actually the camera support that has vias for a fluid movement of the camera. Depending on their movements we can find:

Dolly in:

The camera zooms in on the character or object

Dolly out:

Camera moves away from the character or object

Camera movements on its own axis


Panning is the right-to-left or left-to-right movement of the camera on its own axis.


Tilt is the up-down or down-up movement of the camera on its own axis.

Both movements can be performed simultaneously to create diagonal movements.

Vertigo shot:

The zoom and travelling techniques can be used at the same time creating incredible effects. The vertigo shot or vertigo effect consists precisely in the union of both techniques.

It receives this name thanks to its invention by A. Hitchcock for his film “Vertigo” in which, in order to represent the vertigo suffered by the protagonist, he combined the dolly out with the zoom in.


To know the type of shot and its name you should look at:

Framing size

Its camera angle

The point of view

The movement

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