Forced Perspective Photography Tips & Ideas

Even serious photographers like to have a little fun sometimes. When it comes to creating unusual canvas prints of all shapes and sizes, employing photographic illusions is a quick way of producing unusual prints without the need to spend lots of time using editing software.

Forced perspective photography tends to make an appearance among people’s holiday snaps. After all, a snap of a family member holding the Eiffel Tower or jumping over the Sydney Harbour Bridge is usually too tempting to resist taking. For illusion inspiration, take a look at the forced perspective flickr stream.

The art of making on object in a photograph look unnaturally large or small in comparison with another through clever use of angles is relatively easy, so next time you want to create a forced perspective photograph just follow these hints and tips:

Forcing perspective 

Unlike your eyes, which act in tandem to create depth of field, photographers have only one point of reference when establishing perspective – the lens. Because the camera essentially captures a flat scene if you tell it to, it’s easy to distort reality by making large objects appear small or vice versa.

Perspective props

You can create size and space illusions with all sorts of objects but the most common are buildings, statues and other landmarks and aspects of nature such as mountains, waterfalls or even the sun. In a holiday context, popular tourist landmarks are most often selected as subjects for photographic sorcery. Through forced perspective photos you can make people appear as though they are defying gravity or showing super human powers!

The rules of forced perspective

  • If you want an object to appear smaller it should be in the background of your photograph with the person or object that needs to be larger in the foreground.
  • The amount of space between these two items is decided by the difference in size you require. So, if you want the sizes to look vastly different, the distance will be greater.
  • Spend time getting your objects in the correct position – if they are an inch out of line the illusion won’t look as effective, particularly if it involves a person posing. Of course, you may also be subject to the whims of passing tourists as you do this, for this reason forced perspective shots do require a little patience.
  • To take your photo choose a wide angle of focus and select a large F-stop setting, experimenting until you find both objects firmly in focus. If you’re using a camera without a manual mode you’ll just need to tweak your autofocus slightly. Set it about 1/3 behind the closest object in order to play with the perceived depth of field.

Create your own superhero canvas prints

If you’ve always fancied yourself as the next Godzilla or a new superhero, turning your forced perspective photographs into your own custom canvas prints could take you half way there. Why not take a series of illusion photos featuring different members of the family and turn them into prints? You might not be able to convince friends and family that you are the Incredibles but the resulting photo canvas prints will make great wall art, particularly in the kids’ bedrooms or playrooms.

Get your superhero  prints started by uploading your own forced perspective photographs using our easy uploader tool.

Do you have a fantastic forced perspective shot you’d like to share or a tip for perfecting poses for illusion pics? Please share yours below!

Forced perspective photography tips