What Is Perspective in Photography?

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Photography has numerous sets of rules that beginners are taught to adapt as soon as they start learning their way around the camera. 

Photographers are taught how to angle the camera properly, how to pose and frame the objects and how to adjust the viewfinders on their lenses. 

However, there are rules such as getting the perspective in photography that can come across as confusing, especially for beginners. 

What Is Perspective in Photography?

In photography, a perspective is changing how you see a subject versus how other people see it. 

The perspective makes two-dimensional pictures look like a three-dimensional one. It enhances the lines, balances the weight and improves the shallow depths of field. 

By changing your perspective, the subjects in the photo can appear smaller or larger than normal. 

Man trying to shoot overhead

How to Use Perspective in Photography

Perspective can be achieved through different tricks and steps.  You can make a scene look like an art piece. Images are not three-dimensional. They can only be tweaked to show a three-dimensional world. 

Just like how blurs are added to give an impression of movement, a perspective is used to give an impression of depth. 

Perspective From a Physical Point of View

The perspective of an image can be changed by doing different tricks like moving the camera around. It lets you get a better viewpoint than your eye level. 

Most beginners snap pictures of every scene from their eye level, and it becomes a habit. They see something that they find interesting, and they take a photo of it immediately. 

However, if you want your images to make an impact and have a perspective, you will need to move. 

Move Left to Right

To find a better vantage point, you need to step left or right, as even a few feet can have a massive effect on your photos. 

If you move a bit, no matter how small the distance is, it is enough to change the foreground on your images. The closer the foreground is in your photos, the bigger the impact. 

You can walk around and photograph subjects from different positions, and you may find that the perspective changes with each movement. 

Move Up and Down

To find interesting and new perspectives, you can change the position of your camera or you can change your position. 

Man taking a wide angle photo of a rocky sea

For example, if you are shooting images of a hallway, you can hunch down and see the world in a different way. 

Since we all observe the surroundings through the same eyes, changing your vertical position will give you an interesting take on an otherwise mundane scene. 

Perspective From a Conceptual Point of View

Gaining perspective in photography does not always require you to move. Conceptual ideas can be used as well. Looking at the scene and imagining what the final images will look like when it’s shot in a different time of day is a good way to find a perspective. 

Play with Sharpness, Color, and Contrast 

You can change the perspective by scattering light, lowering the contrast or desaturating the color.

By tweaking the settings of your camera lens, the impression of depth becomes bigger, and it creates a deeper scene. 

Experiment with Different Types of Lenses

The most basic way to change your perspective of a scene is by changing the lens that you use and adjusting your lighting. Different camera lenses can capture different perspective illusions. 

For example, a telephoto lens can squeeze the subject and background together. Ultra wide-angle lenses like the 16-35mm lenses, can make the subject and background look farther away. 

Lenses can alter your perception of the scene and its depth, and it makes you look at things differently, which in itself is already considered as perception. 

Related Questions

What are the Different Perspectives in Photography?

The different perspectives in photography are linear, diminishing scale, forced, aerial and overlap. The linear perspective uses converging lines to change the viewer’s perception of space. 

One yellow sunflower being a point of focus in an image, whereas the other flowers are blurred in the background

The diminishing scale perspective is the change in size from the foreground to the background, and it makes the image look three-dimensional. 

A forced perspective is a technique that positions subjects strategically on a single plane at different distances. An aerial perspective utilizes visual arts effects to influence the sense of depth. 

Meanwhile, overlap perspective is when a subject covers a portion of another subject and pushes further back in the frame. This will give viewers an idea of the subject’s distance in relation to the other elements present in the scene. 

What are the Three Types of Vanishing Points in Linear Perspective?

The vanishing points in linear perspective are divided into three. The first is the one-point perspective that merges two parallel lines to create a depth of an image. 

The second is the two-point perspective that uses two parallel points, 90 degrees apart, and meeting on the horizon. 

The third is the three-point perspective that uses parallel lines together with the width of the subject to meet at two different points on the horizon. 

The three vanishing points can help create the illusion of space on your images. 

Conclusion

Photography is not just about clicking on your camera lens when you see a subject that you like. It is also about the aesthetic and the art behind it that captures the attention of the viewers and makes them think and imagine. 

Perspective can change how you see things. What is bland and straightforward for others can look exciting and unique for you. With perspective, you can open new waves of possibilities. 

Kaitlin Cooper is an active professional wedding and portrait photographer in San Diego, California at Kaitlin Cooper Photography. She is also a contributor to many large publications, including Bridal GuideBustlePixpaWith Joy, and Hello Giggles.