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Why and How: Mastering Perspective in Nature Photography

Using perspective in photography is essential. This is one way that can give effect 3D in your pictures.

Mastering this technology puts strengthen reading of a photograph by a viewer. The techniques are simple and easy to practice.

An example of perspective: a road in California in black and white. The depth effect is striking.
An example of perspective: a road in California in black and white. The depth effect is striking.

Definition of Perspective in Photography

In photography, perspective is a technique for representing three-dimensional shapes in a photo. This technique makes it possible to account for volumes on a plan.

You should never lose sight of the fact that a photograph always shows a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional support.

In photography, the use of perspective will allow you to show shapes, space, depth and distance. It uses the lines of flight which are often convergent.

In photography, perspective can be used in an expansive or compressive way.

The Linear Perspective

Linear perspective is defined when a viewer observes a photograph and his eye estimates distances by the size of the photographic elements and by the angle at which lines and planes converge.

The determining factors that affect the linear perspective are the distance between the lens and the main center of interest as well as the focal distance.

Linear perspective can be changed by changing the position of the camera or you can change the point of view as I had explained in this article.

You can change the apparent point of view (which is different from the real point of view) only by changing the focal length of the lens.

The Rectilinear Perspective

The perspective produced by a camera is identical to that one produced by the human eye. This means that all the photographic elements have the same appearance in the photo as in the real scene.

But as you know, a lens is curved. It therefore produces a distortion of the straight lines. This is even more true with fisheye lenses that have an angle of 180 degrees.

The wide angles produce a false perspective. The lines are curved around the edges of the image. But the parallel lines give the impression of converging towards a fixed point located at infinity. These are definable points of view. This is called rectilinear perspective.

L’allitération est un effet très créatif en photo. Elle a surtout un rôle esthétique.

The Height

The height also gives an important perspective in a landscape scene, there are two dominant zones: the ground and the horizon.

The closer a photographic element is to the horizon, the more distant and smaller it will appear.

The closer an element is to the lens, the further away from the horizon, the larger it appears.

It is a simple technique that you can use to modulate the size of a shape in a photograph.

The Decrease of the Size

You are like all human beings. You are able to live experiences and memorize them. All the accumulation of these experiences allows you to keep the references of the size of the shapes and objects observed.

Take the concrete example of a photograph of a roe deer. In reality, the size at the withers of this animal is between 60 and 70 centimeters. When a photograph is taken very closely, the viewer has the impression that the size can be double. But the human eye automatically performs the correction because the brain calls on lived experience.

The size of all the familiar shapes in a photo makes it possible to establish a scale and give dimension to the scene photographed.

For example, you can play with the viewer by placing a small point of interest in the foreground and a larger point of interest in the background. The viewer will feel that the size of the primary subject is larger than the size of the second center of interest, even if in reality it is false. But the viewer will not be shocked by this difference because he will make the correction himself through his experience.

This is how you can create very interesting visual effects to create different photos.

Finally

I recommend to you to know the nature of the different perspectives and their impact on reading a photograph.

You will be able to create more creative, more dynamic and different images. You should not hesitate to use it.

But beware because sometimes the results produced can be contrary to the desired effect: your photos can become not readable.

Photography is like life. You must be able to show creative intelligence and balance your photographs.


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