Perspective in photography

Perspective in photography is one of the most important element. It is an optical effect, which is based on optical illusion of physics.

For a viewer, object close to him looks bigger and the same object at a distance looks smaller. When this optical illusion is applied in photography or in drawing, an effect of three dimensional impression is created.

Element of perspective creates strong element of line. When other elements like contrast and tonality are playing their role, the pictorial appeal in a photograph is improved.



This is a photograph with wide angle lens. Distorted perspective makes the remote look much bigger and longer.




The same product shot with a tele-lens. Compressed perspective makes it appear compact and short.



Perspective in an image depends on the lens we use. It also depends on camera angle and height of view. Wide angle lens will exaggerate the perspective. Object, which is not that far will look at more distance as the distortion of the lens will make the object at a distance, smaller. As the brain has only dealt with one natural lens; with fixed focal length, which is our eye, difference in size created by a wide angle lens will fool the brain for its increase in a distance.

Tele-lens on the other end will compress the perspective. It will make the far object appear as closer. So the effect is reverse, compared to a wide angle lens and the perspective is flat.

Converging lines are other illusion of perspective, which is observed by all of us. Parallel railway track meets each other at the point near the horizon. Though they never meet, the brain process this illusion for distance and we see the depth even with one eye. As a photograph, which is also a "one eye" vision, perspective and converging lines become indispensable component in creating three dimensional effect and depth in a photograph.

This element of photograph works for all genre of photography, except in portrait photography, where a compressed perspective will give more pleasant features of a face. Perspective in photography is also not workable in close up and macro photography, where actually, there is no room for it.

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Learn more about:

Color in photography

Contrast in photography

Form in photography

Line in photography

Negative space

Pattern in photography

Positive space

Shadow in photography

Shape in photography

Size in photography

Texture in photography

Tone in photography




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