We all love taking pictures and sharing it with the world, as shown by the popularity of image sharing websites like Instagram and Facebook. We just like to have fun, get creative, and snap away. I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find a forced perspective picture taken by anyone who have ever held a camera and seen one on these pictures.
I’m talking about the “impossible” pictures of people holding a mini-sized person on the palm of their hands, or “giant” tourists seen to be pushing or hugging the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In the age of photoshop these kinds of photos might not be very surprising anymore, but the fact is that it is all done just with creative framing of the camera and some trial and error poses. Sooner or later, you will be tempted to try it, so here are some great ideas to get you started.
Hangman or mini-me
This is one of the more common ideas that people will try, but when you execute it well, it is still incredibly satisfying. The idea is to create a picture where you’re holding or picking up a miniature person with your hand or fingers. To do this well, you need maximum distance and depth of field. You need to get the camera very close to the person who is holding the miniature people. Then have the miniature person to stand and pose as far away as possible while still being in acceptably sharp focus. If one of the person is in very sharp focus but the other is not then it ruins the illusion, so get a good compromise so that they match in sharpness. Have the larger person in the foreground hold up their hand and fingers as if they’re picking up a very small object. For the mini person, hide a coat hanger or a stick under their shirt so that the shirt appears to poke out. Frame your camera to match the fingers and the tip of the shirt that is poking out and you have a picture of a giant person picking up a mini person by their shirt!
Russian nested dolls
This works best if you and a group of people are standing on an open and very flat area like a desert or on the beach, where the horizon stretches to infinity. Setup the camera and have each person stand and pose at an evenly spaced distance from the camera as well as from each other. Make them all have the exact same pose and pointing to the same direction. The result is you get is an interesting forced perspective picture of a group of people, each smaller than the other, with the same pose looking like a series of Russian nested dolls.
Playing with the sun
The sun, as depicted in photographs are often evocative and expressive due to the warm colours and emanating glow during sunset or sunrise. If you find yourself with a camera during this golden hour of photographic opportunity, why not take a picture where you or your subject is interacting directly with the sun? Hold a pose, such as kicking a soccer ball and move your camera so the sun is where the ball should be. You could also hide the sun behind your subject’s head, but with the rays of light clearly visible and spreading out to suggest enlightenment.
There are no limits on how creative you can be with forced perspective. Instead of just taking another picture of a landmark on your travels, or a smiling group photo, you can really liven things up with some imagination and great ideas to create that next great forced perspective picture!
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