What is Perspective in Photography?

Perspective is defined as a particular way of considering something.

So, how does this relate to photography?

When it comes to photography, showing your perspective of something can really make a simple photo, great.

Photography isn’t something that people just get and understand. There’s a lot more to it than pressing a button and capturing a still of the world around you.

You want to show people a certain aspect of the world around you. The only way to really get your message across is to show some perspective.

This may seem a little confusing, but hopefully you’ll understand how perspective relates to photography by the end of this article.

What is Perspective in Photography?

Even though it’s not necessarily an easy concept to grasp when it comes to photography, it’s something that you need to learn.

Perspective is a great way of showing a three-dimensional world in a two-dimensional surface.

In photography, perspective can allow you to see something as three-dimensional.

The relationship between all the objects in a photo shows perspective.

This is why composition is something that’s vitally important in every picture you take.

Perspective from a Physical Standpoint

You can very easily change the perspective of a photo from a physical standpoint. It doesn’t take much work to do this.

Some people tend to fall into a habit of taking pictures from eye level and getting stuck in that.

You see a possible picture, but you don’t take the time to really give a different perspective. You just show the audience exactly what you saw right away.

Instead of shooting something right away when you see it, start moving left or right to give the audience a different perspective.

Moving just 3 feet to the right or left can greatly change the perspective of a picture.

You may not be changing the background very much, but you could be drastically changing the foreground. It’s changes like this that can really change the way your picture looks.

You should also look at moving up and down.

High angle shots and low angle shots will definitely give you another perspective when it comes to your pictures.

Low angle shots will allow you to show your subject as being superior. Your subject will look bigger than they actually are compared to the world around them.

High angle shots can make your subject look smaller and the world around them much bigger. This is also a good way to create more depth in your photography.

Don’t be scared to lie on the ground to get a different perspective. You may be surprised and notice that this will give you the most unique perspective of your subject.

Just play around with different angles to really show a different perspective from a physical standpoint. Different angles add depth and scale to your photos.

Instead of having a level view of something, you will be able to show your subject from a different point of view.

Perspective from a Conceptual Standpoint

Sometimes in photography, we don’t always have the luxury of moving or changing our angles so it can be difficult to show different perspectives from a physical standpoint.

Luckily, that’s not the only way you can really show a different perspective.

Having different concepts for a photo will easily allow you to show a different perspective without having to actually move.

Distance is a way that you can show perspective.

For example, being able to show how far you are from a subject or the distance between multiple subjects can allow you to show a different perspective.

An easy way to do this, if possible, is to show the ground in the photo. Say you’re on the street but there are mountains ahead of you in the distance.

You could easily just take a picture of the mountains, but it’s lacking something to really make the photo unique. If you add the street into the photo, it’s going to show distance and really show the viewer how far you actually are from the mountains.

Another way to show distance is to use different focal lengths. This is going to allow for a much different perspective when you can’t change your angles at all.

So if you have a 50mm lens and a 16-35mm lens, you’ll be able to have a wide range of focal lengths that you can use for the same shot.

The composition of your photo is another way you can add a different perspective to it.

However you compose your photo can really give the viewer a sense of depth.

For example, leading lines are something that a lot of great photographers do to add a different perspective to their photo.

When we look at a picture, our eyes want to jump around looking for the real subject of it.

Leading lines are able to draw the viewer to the subject.

Your eyes and brain have less work to do.

This could easily make a two dimensional picture look more like a three dimensional image.

Using different lenses is also going to allow you to show a different perspective from a conceptual standpoint.

There are a ton a different lenses out there that you can use. Each of which can give you the ability to manipulate a photo from the same exact spot.

There are fisheye lenses, telephoto lenses, and even wide angle lenses.

All of these lenses will give a different perspective of the same thing.

For example, a wide angle lens does exactly what you may think it does. It takes a picture that is wide but it also makes objects towards the sides seem smaller.

This allows a subject in the middle to appear bigger, thus creating a different perspective.

There is also an idea of forced perspective. This might be one of the more cool types of perspective.

It involves distance.

The best example that I can think of for forced perspective is when you’re standing, lifting your hands in the air, and making it look like you’re holding a building.

You’re far enough away from the building where your hand looks like it fits under it so that you can lift it.

You’re also making it seem like your hand and the building are one subject. There is no distinction between your hand and the building.

No depth is shown between the two, forcing the perspective on your eyes.

Understand Perspective

Once you’re able to fully understand perspective, you can change almost any picture that you take.

It’s important to keep in mind that when you want to change the perspective you’re also going to be changing the composition of your photos. Composition is a huge part of what goes into making a great photo come to life.

You don’t always have to just shoot straight. There are so many different things that you can do to manipulate the photo and change the point of view.

You know within the first couple seconds of looking at a photo if you really like it or not.

Seeing the same old view from eye level, over and over and over again will get boring at some point if you don’t do anything to change the pictures around.

Why do you think model photographers are constantly moving around?

Why do you think photographers at sporting events move around the field?

Are they doing this just because they get tired of standing in the same spot for hours at a time?

No, they do this to get different perspectives of what they’re shooting from both a physical and conceptual standpoint.

When you can understand perspective, your photography skills are going to level up because you’re going to be able to show the world around you in a way you may have never thought before.

The world around you may look entirely different.