Types of Shots

These are terms that we clarified for ourselves at Broadway Comics to simplify the working relationship between the writing team and the artists. We gave copies of the full document (with many more pictures) out to each penciller who worked from our scripts just so we could be sure we were talking about the same things. Each heading links to a version of the same document with a few examples of comic book panels that illustrate the definition. The definitions describe the depth from the camera to the subject.

CLOSE SHOTS - (click for visual) Good for conveying details, emotion, reactions, expressions.

  • EXTREME CLOSE-UP - A shot in which a small object or part of an object fills the entire frame, usually cropped.
  • CLOSE-UP - A shot in which the subject fills most of the frame with little space around it.
  • BUST SHOT - A shot in which the main subject is fills much of the frame, but more of the surroundings are shown. As in a head and shoulders or portrait type shot of a person.

MEDIUM SHOTS - (click for visual) Good for establishing figures and body language, human size action.

  • CLOSE MEDIUM SHOT - A shot with the subject near to the camera and clearly visible, but most likely partially cropped
  • MEDIUM SHOT - A shot which shows the subject and its surroundings equally well. Usually full figures.
  • LONG MEDIUM SHOT - A shot where meaningful information and details are still clearly visible, but the subject of the frame occupies less of the space than the surroundings.

LONG SHOTS - (click for visual) Good for setting locale, showing location of objects, showing an area, showing big action.

  • LONG SHOT - A shot at such a distance that few details and little meaningful information about the object of the frame can be readily seen.
  • DISTANT LONG SHOT - A shot where the object can still be clearly seen, but no meaningful information about the object is discernible at all.
  • EXTREME LONG SHOT - A shot that is so distant that the main object is a dot or is not visible at all.


  • ESTABLISHING SHOT - A shot that shows enough of the surroundings to establish the locale adequate to the telling of the story.
  • HIGH ANGLE or BIRD'S EYE VIEW or DOWN SHOT - A view from an angle higher than normal eye level.
  • LOW ANGLE or WORM'S EYE VIEW or UP SHOT - A view from an angle lower than normal eye level, frequently the ground level.
  • DIAGRAMMATIC SHOT - A view from normal eye level at 90 degrees to the action or interaction of the subjects.
  • STRAIGHT ON or DEAD ON SHOT - A view from directly in front of the subject.
  • OVERHEAD SHOT - A shot from directly above or almost directly above the subject.
  • PANORAMIC SHOT - A wide angle shot which is similar to the viewpoint of a panoramic camera.
  • FULL FIGURE SHOT - A view in which the subject is not cropped.