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What is Photography Perspective?

Understanding How to Use Perspective in Photography

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What is Photography Perspective?
Photo courtesy Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the key components to photography is learning about how perspective affects your photos.

Perspective in photography refers to the dimension of objects and the spatial relationship between them. It also relates to the position of the human eye in relation to the objects in an image. The farther away an object is from the human eye, the smaller it becomes. 

As well as an object becoming smaller, any lines in an image will appear to come closer and closer together the farther away from the viewer's eye they are, or as they approach the horizon in the distance. As shown in the photo above, as the building stretches into the sky, it seems to become less wide. Eye level also determines what a viewer is able to see in a photograph.

Therefore, photography perspective may change the way an object looks, depending on the object's size and distance the object is from the camera. This is because perspective is determined not by focal length, but by the relative distance between objects.

People often believe that a wide angle lens exaggerates perspective, while a telephoto lens compresses it. This isn't actually true. A wide angle lens merely creates an illusion of exaggerated perspective. This is because there is a greater distance between objects in a wide angle photograph and the closest image to the camera will appear bigger. With a telephoto lens, the distance between objects shrinks, thus causing the difference in size of the objects to decrease.

Perspective can cause particular problems for photographers when shooting buildings, as these will appear to shrink to a point at their top. To combat this problem, photographers use special "tilt and shift" lenses, which come with bellows to allow the lens to be tilted gradually to correct for the effects of perspective. Perspective problems can also be corrected with some advanced computer software, such as Adobe Photoshop. 

Good luck in dealing with perspective in your photographs!

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