This week, we’re going play with Forced Perspective. Put simply, forced perspective is a fun optical illusion that can make big things look small, small things look big, near things look far, or far things look near. To do so, the photographer carefully arranges objects in the foreground and/or background to “trick” the viewer into thinking these objects are near each other, even when they’re not. It’s a fun technique that can be used to create some very creative, memorable photos.
[Note: If you are worried that this challenge looks a bit difficult, please see the “Don’t Panic!” section, below. As always, the admins or other group members are always here to help.]
Let’s dive into some examples:
This is probably one of the most widely photographed examples of Forced Perspective: A tourist propping up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. By carefully aligning the subject against the background, you can create a fun, whimsical effect.
Naturally, not everyone has the luxury of traveling to Italy to take their weekly challenge photo. As shown above, there are great opportunities for forced perspective photos right at your own home.
Another great use of Forced Perspective is to play with the relative sizes of your subjects. In this case, placing one of the girls very close to the camera (and carefully posing her against the basketball net) gives the illusion that she is a giant. Adding the second girl beneath the net nicely contributes to the illusion.
Note that forced perspective shots don’t necessarily need to have people. (Or, at least, the people don’t need to be the subject.) One common idea is to hold up a photo against the same scene of the photo, as shown above. If the photo has been taken many years prior, it can be particularly effective in showing how much (or how little) has changed over the years. As always, the only limit is your creativity.
Tips and Suggestions
Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Not surprisingly, this technique requires careful alignment of your subject(s). As such, a tripod can be very helpful to keep everything in place. If you don’t have a tripod, place your camera on a stable, flat surface, if possible.
- Shadows on the ground can sometimes break the illusion. (Take a look at the woman’s shadow in the Leaning Tower of Pisa shot– it’s a bit out of place, were she actually a giant.) If possible, try to take the shot on an overcast day, so as to get even, soft lighting.
- For the effect to work best, you want most everything in the shot to be in focus. As such, you want to use a narrow aperture, such as f/11, f/16, etc. Doing so will help keep everything in focus. As well, prefer a wide angle lens to a telephoto one, as a wide angle shot makes it easier to keep everything in focus.
- Take lots of shots! Since this technique requires everything to align (near) perfectly, you might need to take lots of shots to get everything just the way you like it. Digital pictures are free, so don’t worry about taking a dozen throwaways to get one keeper.
I know that some people get a bit overwhelmed with more technical challenges, but this one really isn’t as hard as it might seem. Remember: A thousand tourists a day take the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” shot, without breaking a sweat. I have no doubt that everyone in this group can take a great shot with a bit of effort and creativity. As well, note that you don’t need any special equipment to take forced perspective shots. You can use whatever camera you like– your cell phone, your point and shoot, a DLSR, or even your old Polaroid.
Of course, one of the best parts about our group is that we’re all here to help one another– if you get stuck or have questions, everyone will be happy to help!
Finally, don’t worry about taking a shot that people have done before. The point of this challenge is to get everyone to experiment with this technique. Just take a shot that you like; it doesn’t matter if a similar photo has been done a hundred or a thousand times before.
This week, I want everyone to take a photo that exhibits Forced Perspective. The choice is up to you: Make something look like a giant, make something small, have two things interact that couldn’t normally touch each other, or any other creative idea you can think of. (As above, don’t worry if an idea has been done before– just do something new for you.)
Get your camera, be creative, and have fun!
The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:
- Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to our active community on our Facebook Group, Flickr Group or 500PX group (or all three). Tag the photo: #10thanniversaryphotochallenge #2018photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
- The shot should be a new shot you took this week, for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2018 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
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