Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tips For Using Perspective in Photography

Every time you look at a photo whether it be in print or on a screen, it goes without saying that what you are looking at is a 2D representation of a 3D scene. The two dimensional picture is an illusion and your mind deciphers the information to get a sense of the 'depth'. Photographers use the concept of perspective to resemble a sense of depth and scale in photos.

A Definition of Perspective

In photography, perspective is defined as the sense of space between objects and their dimensions in relation to the camera's position, producing a sense of depth. Here are our ten most useful tips on working with perspective.

1. Blocking Parts Of Subjects

I may sound like I am stating the obvious here, but when you see one object partially blocking your view of something else, your mind processes this information to tell you that the obstructed object is behind the object obstructing it.

By comparing their relative sizes we are able to get a sense of the depth. This is what we call overlap perspective.

2. Relative size

As an object becomes smaller, our brains process the information to tell us that the object is a distance away from the spot where the photo was taken. We already know rough sizes of natural objects, such as cars, trees, humans and houses, so upon seeing a person who is five times taller than a house, our brain lets us know that the person is much closer to us than the other object is. Our brain works this out based on known objects in relationship with other objects in the photo to imagine the distance and depths of relative objects. This is what we refer to as scaling.

We can use some effective photography techniques by positioning several objects at different distances from the camera and give the illusion that they are the same distance from the camera as each other. You can get some peculiar pictures by doing this.

Including a single familiar object in a picture enables us to work out the sizes of other things in the shot in comparison to that one familiar object. Think about how many pictures you have seen of people holding a fish they caught smiling proudly for the camera. They do this so that you can see how big the fish is in comparison the people. Think about a picture of a person standing among some gigantic leaves in the rainforest, which are bigger than he is. Seeing this stimulates your mind because we are familiar with much smaller leaves

3. The Vanishing Point

The human eye judges depth by looking at how lines and planes converge at a point inside or outside of the picture. This is what we call linear perspective.

Fish eye lenses create photos of objects that look a lot smaller at the edges of the picture than they would appear in reality. On the other hand, the objects in the middle of these shots look significantly bigger than they would in real life.

Parallel lines in a picture which move away from the viewpoint appear to be converging or meeting with each other at a certain point, known as the vanishing point. This is very common in photography. Think of a photo of railway tracks converging in the distance.

4. The Lens Axis Level

Horizontal lines moving across the lens axis level appear as straight lines, while all other horizontal lines above and below this level look slightly curved. With rectilinear perspective, the straight lines in the frame are reproduced as straight lines in the picture, in the same way that we perceive objects in reality. Regular lenses are rectilinear lenses.

5. Perspective Projection Distortion

All pictures can be subject to perspective projection distortion. This is when we use panoramic and fish eye lenses to deliberately produce warped perspectives to create interesting effects.

6. Reduced Sharpness, Definition and Quality of Colour

Due to reduced contrast, scattering of light and other factors, our eyes cannot define objects in the distance as easily. Objects further away are harder to define because of light scattering and reduced contrast as well as other factors. This information helps our brains to understand distance. In photography, we can take this knowledge and use it to our advantage to create photos where objects at certain distances seem to have less definition and contrast. We do this by controlling the depth of field. An easy way to do this is by focusing the camera lens a little less than infinity so that the objects furthest away look blurred. This gives the viewer some sense of the depth and distances of various objects in the picture.

Objects with reduced brightness and contrast make our brains perceive that we are looking at something further away than the brighter, more vivid objects closer to the foreground.

Before you take a photo, you should decide whether you are trying to emphasize the depth of the scene or not.

7. Depth of field And Focus
The F-stop, focus distance and focal length can be used to control the depth of field. The depth of field (DoF) defines an area where objects are sharp in the picture. Anything closer to the viewpoint than this area, or further away than it will be blurred. A common mistake of beginner photographers is to try to get everything in the picture to appear sharp. They often try to maximize the DoF with smaller apertures. Sometimes this assumption can work well, but it is generally not seen as something more seasoned photographers like to do.

8. Object Isolation

If you separate an object from its environment using various techniques you can create some interesting effects. One example is to use a wide lens, which will divide the scene into different layers. Occasionally you have an unpleasant background. To resolve this issue, we can sometimes select a tiny depth of field so that everything behind the main object is less in focus. These objects now seem less important in the photo.

9. Compression
One of the most overused types of lenses in photography is the wide angle lens, creating monotonous perspectives which lack definition. The depth from a wide angle lens compresses the scene. It is far better to use a medium tele lens, which will emphasize any depth there is in the shot.

10. Layers

If you are interested in landscape photography and enjoy shooting scenes of mountains, using layers can be a good technique. Mountains tend to dominate a photo as the main feature. You can make your pictures much more interesting by using addition layers in the foreground and the centre.

If you're taking a photo of a scene which doesn't have trees, cars or other familiar objects, such as a desert, you have nothing to show the size of objects in the shot. In this instance, you might wait until someone comes walking past to get a shot, or ask your buddy to stand in the frame.

Thank you for reading and don't forget to make use of some of the points written here next time you are shooting.


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