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Explanation of Forced Perspective Photography with Examples

Cheryl Mascarenhas Mar 6, 2020
Tired of taking pictures in the same old poses? Try your hand at forced perspective photography, and breathe life into your pictures. Allow the story to guide you in taking the perfect forced perspective shots.

Did You Know?

Peter Jackson's film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings made extensive use of forced perspective.
I bet most of you are well-acquainted with creative photo editing, a technique employed by most photographers to enhance and liven a supposed static picture. Forced perspective photography is a lot like creative photo editing, the only difference being, the creative phase is included while taking the picture itself.
You would think that employing such a technique would be a tough call; on the contrary, it is a relatively easy task and needs just a little bit of creativity on your part. Just about any scene and setting can be toyed with to give you a perfect forced perspective photograph.
For instance, imagine a monster is biting off your friend's head. To implement this in your picture, you need to place the toy monster close to the camera, while your friend can stand at a considerable distance. Look into the lens of the camera, focus on the head, and click―you have your friend's head being bitten off by a monster.
Now for the actual implementation of this technique, here's how you should go about with it. Given here are essentials and examples to accompany how you can achieve the perfect optical illusion photograph.

How about Extracting Some Light from the Sun?

Understanding the Concept

Forced perspective photography intentionally manipulates the visual perception by making viewers believe that some objects are smaller or larger than they really are. In other words, forced perspective is nothing but creating optical illusions that make one believe that it is larger-than-life.
By employing the technique, you can bring objects closer or push your subject further away into the background, and eventually, lend a whole new dimension to your picture.

Ouch! That Hurts ...

The Underlying Mantra

The camera lens, unlike our eyes, views things as flat and lacking in depth. This very fact allows you to play with the placing of subjects to create dimension and depth.
Forced perspective, when employed in the right way, does just that and provides you an opportunity to merge subjects and backgrounds to give you a better image. The best part about these photographs is that there is no limit or set boundary to stop you from exploring both the setting and subject of photography.

Determine the Distance

Distance between two subjects is the main paint you need to remember. You need to strike a perfect balance between the distance of the two objects, so that while you focus on the foreground, the background does not blur.
This will ensure that both the subjects are clearly visible, like in the two pictures shown earlier. Placing subjects at a considerable distance is what will give you the perfect perspective of it to look as natural as possible.

Running or Flying?

Against the Law of Gravity

Everything that goes up must come down, ain't it? Forced perspective photography begs to differ; you can undoubtedly have your subjects flying or crawling in space. How is this remotely possible?
Well, get your subjects to lie on the ground/road, and get them to act out just about anything you wish to create and shoot. The effect is amazing. Make sure you get the horizon lined perfectly to make it look real.

Falling the Wrong Way? Look Again, It's the Way It Has to Be.

Pay Attention to Details

To start with, place the camera on a tripod stand to avoid gaps and shaky shoots. Lighting is equally important, so ensure the subject is illuminated from the right direction to enhance the optical illusion.

Timing is Everything ...

Timing It Right

Timing plays an important aspect to create a perfect illusion. Take the example of the two pictures above: If the timing wasn't accurate enough, the effect wouldn't have been the same as it is now.

Examples of Forced Perspective Photography

Distance is the Key Word ...

Crowning Glory

Need Some Help With Stretching?

Now That's an Idea!

A Costly Mistake

Illuminated or Enlightened?

Reaching for the Clouds

A Night Lamp

Lanterns and Lamps

Groove to the Beat

Too Hungry to Let Go

Forced perspective photography is often employed at theme parks and monuments. You will find pictures of people leaning against the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and of people holding hot air balloons drifting in the sky. Come to think of it, the possibilities for letting go of your creativity are endless. So, line your subjects, give it depth, and your picture of optical illusion is ready to flaunt.