Master The Art Of Perspective In Photography
Our eyes are capable of determining the depth and perspective of scenes before us, such as never-ending tunnels and rolling mountains in the distance. However, the camera needs a helping hand to transform what would be a flat photograph into the depth-filled image we see before us. If your scene would benefit from a bit of oomph in the depth department, then this can be controlled with a carefully considered choice of lens coupled with a decent viewpoint.
To exaggerate the effect of distance in a tunnel of a long straight road, you need to emphasis the converging verticals – a term referring to appearance of the scene squeezing to a point in the distance. Do this by using a wide-angle lens, which will exaggerate the width at the start of the scene and the narrowness at the back.
Position yourself centrally so the converging lines look longer and even consider giving the camera a slight upward tilt to really maximize the sense of distance between the beginning and the end of the scene.
Just as lines are important to perspective, they also play a vital role in other aspects of photography too. The term “leading lines” is frequently thrown around in photography and refers to structural elements in a photograph that lead the viewer’s eye into the picture.
The most obvious line used in photography is that of the horizon – a perfectly straight line by which everything else is arranged around. Just think how obvious it is when a scene has a skewed horizon – it’s the epitome of distraction and a serious schoolboy error, which separates the amateurs from anyone more serious about photography.
There are plenty of man-made lines to think about too including buildings, power lines, cranes, vehicles and structures. Think about how lines feature in your scene and where they are leading. Are they a main feature of the scene? Are they leading your viewer into the scene or are they causing a distraction to the main event? Consider your viewpoint and perspective to establish how you can make lines work well in the scene.
For example, certain lines impart different qualities. A diagonal can give the impression of speed, curves can have a calming influence and angular lines often impart a sense of discord.
Fine art photography relies on the soft curves of the body to achieve a calming natural flow throughout the image. A racing car’s speed can be accelerated by capturing it on a diagonal or a slight tilt, while an abstract image is given energy and dynamism by accentuating its angles and edges. Pick a theme you want to emphasize and use the available lines to your advantage.
To take an image that really appreciates form, look out for areas of shading within your subject. The greater degree of shading and number of tones there are, the more pleasing the subject. Position yourself to capture as many shades as possible.
Hopefully these pointers will help you consider the scene and its outcome before you press the shutter.
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