Learn Perspective For Better Composition

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PERSPECTIVE,
A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Perspective in photography can be defined as the sense of depth or spatial relationships between objects in the photo, along with their dimensions with respect to the viewpoint (camera lens or the viewer). It also relates to the position of the human eye in relation to the objects in an image. The farther away an object is from the human eye, the smaller it becomes.
This is one of the tricky areas of photography which if a photographer is not consciously aware of, can produce unwanted “distortions” or “flat” uninteresting images.

Linear Perspective, Rectilinear and Vanishing poiint

The human eye judges distance by the way elements within a scene diminish in size, and the angle at which lines and planes converge. This is called linear perspective. For example railway tracks that seem to merge in the distance. The space between the tracks (side to side) is fixed, of course, but it seems to get smaller the closer the tracks get to the horizon.

Railway tracks @ by Eugene van der Watt

Railway tracks @ by Eugene van der Watt

Perspective by Max_Chansky

Perspective by Max_Chansky

Height Perspective

The location of the base of an object in a photo serves to give the viewer an idea of how far away from the camera the object is. The farther up in the horizontal plane of a photo the object is located, the farther away it seems; objects lower in the horizontal plane appear closer.

Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík by Svenia Schreiner

Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík by Svenia Schreiner

Petronas towers in kuala lumpur by Stéphane Bidouze

Petronas towers in kuala lumpur by Stéphane Bidouze

Atmospheric/Aerial Perspective

The appearance of objects at long distances is altered by the effects of atmospheric conditions between the camera and the object being photographed. Objects become less distinct as more atmosphere is placed between them and the camera; dust, smoke, water, and a variety of other factors conspire to diminish contrast in an image. Ironically, this haze serves to create depth, particularly in landscape photography.

The End by Isaac Gautschi

The End by Isaac Gautschi

View over Munich VI by Manuel Irritier

View over Munich VI by Manuel Irritier

Urban sunset by Javi Pardo

Urban sunset by Javi Pardo

Overlap Perspective

If an image features multiple objects placed on the same visual plane, the objects closer to the camera will overlap and partially hide the objects that are farther away. From this, the viewer can more easily ascertain the relative distance of one object from another.

Infinity II by Roberto Gutiérrez

Infinity II by Roberto Gutiérrez

Cry out loud by Sung joo Son

Cry out loud by Sung joo Son

Diminishing Size Perspective

Our brain is very complex but gets fooled easily. We have a notion that when an object becomes more distant, it appears smaller than the one which is closer to the viewer. This effect is best demonstrated through repetition of objects such as rows of trees. The first tree will be closest to your camera and, thus, will appear larger, with each subsequent tree in the row appearing smaller.

ANOTHER UNIQUE VIEW... by Magda Indigo

ANOTHER UNIQUE VIEW… by Magda Indigo

Forced Perspective

Forced perspective relies on the purposeful, strategic placement of a subject/object in such a manner that it appears farther, closer, larger, or smaller than it is in reality.

Morning Mood by Tatiana Mikhina

Morning Mood by Tatiana Mikhina

Under my heal by Mike Franks

Under my heal by Mike Franks

Change Your Viewpoint

Perhaps the most convenient way to alter perspective is to simply move; change your viewpoint. Get down low, go up high, step to the right or to the left; any viewpoint other than eye level (the most commonly used viewpoint) can make a significant difference in perspective.

Vicenza Through Microlens Giovanni Fanton

Vicenza Through Microlens Giovanni Fanton

Perspective as a compositional tool will have a powerful impact on the images you produce once you gotten a hang of how and when to use different types of perspective. The best part is that these techniques are free. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you are using; absolutely anyone can improve their photography this way.

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About Author

Graphics Designer and Passionographer who loves challenging and experimental work and is not afraid to share the knowledge about it.

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