Have you heard about forced perspective photography, but you're still not exactly sure what it is or how it works? Maybe you're familiar with those photos where a tourist appears to be holding up the leaning tower of Pisa or touching the top of the Eiffel tower, and you want to learn how to apply that principle to new and unique forced perspective photography ideas. Either way, you've come to the right place! In this article, we'll be providing 24 forced perspective photograph ideas and explaining how you can achieve them in your own home or outdoors. By the end, you'll have a ton of amazing new ideas for photographs that you can use to diversify your online portfolio website.
What Is Forced Perspective Photography?
Forced perspective photography is one of those things where you may not have heard the term, but you would definitely recognize the technique if you saw it. In simple terms, forced perspective photography is the practice of creating optical illusions using the distance of your subjects from the camera. It's a technique that is often used in both photography and videography in order to make two objects that are similar sizes appear vastly different or to make two objects of different sizes appear to be the same size.
Forced perspective photography can be created in photo editing software, but it is generally achieved in camera by altering how close or far away your subjects are. Now that you understand the basics of forced perspective photography and how it is accomplished, let's take a look at these easy forced perspective photograph ideas that are sure to leave you inspired.
24 Forced Perspective Ideas To Try at Home
While the most common examples of forced perspective photography may be from popular tourist destinations, the reality is that you can create a compelling forced perspective photo anywhere, even in your own home. We've gathered up some incredible ideas for creating forced perspective photos that play with human visual perception in an exciting way, no matter where you are.
1. Use Everyday Household Objects as Your Props
If you're looking for ways to practice forced perspective photography at home, look no further than the household objects that you handle on a daily basis. For example, you could create an image using your house keys, your headphones, or even a pack of gum. While it's possible that you could stumble upon a composition that works without any planning, the best forced photography photos are carefully planned in order to tell some sort of story. Choose your props based on what makes the most sense with your setting in order to create a satisfying and visually engaging photo.
2. Experiment With Different Camera Lenses
If you are new to photography and all you have available is a smartphone, a digital camera, or a film camera, don't worry! It is absolutely not necessary for you to invest in any expensive cameras or gear in order to create a compelling forced perspective photo. With that said, if you happen to have some extra lenses on hand, experimenting with them can help you to achieve a number of different effects in your forced perspective photography. If you are interested in trying out a new camera lens, you may want to start with a 35mm zoom lens. This will allow you to capture incredible optical illusions without having to keep physically moving your camera around.
3. Get Creative With Your Food
If you're looking for a creative way to use objects that you already have to make amazing forced perspective photos, look no further than your kitchen counter, pantry, or fridge. The way this trend works is that you take a food item and hold it in front of a person to make it look like your model is wearing the food as clothing. For example, take a triangle-shaped food item like a slice of pizza or a bundle of herbs and hold it in front of your model so that it looks like they are wearing the food as a dress. This forced perspective technique is especially popular in children's portrait photography or family portrait photography, but the possibilities for you to express your creativity are truly endless.
4. Align Your Face With a Book Cover
This visual manipulation technique uses images on book covers combined with a model to create a unique optical illusion. Start by taking a look through your bookshelf for any books that have a face or part of a face on the cover. Find a model whose features resemble the image and have them hold the book so that it looks as though the photo on the cover is actually the face of the person holding it. If you don't have any books with faces on them, you photographers can also use this forced perspective technique with paintings, illustrations, or printed photos.
5. Match Your Clothes to Your Surroundings
If you're looking for a forced perspective technique that gets you out of the house, you could try having your model wear clothes that blend in with the environment. For example, if you live near a beach, your model could wear sand-colored pants and an ocean blue shirt. The trickiest part of creating this forced perspective image is making sure that the colors are perfectly matched to the surroundings so that your model becomes camouflaged in the landscape. However, if your colors are a bit off, you can always tweak them afterward in Lightroom or Photoshop.
6. Go To Busy Locations at off Peak Times
Have you ever tried to take photos at a popular tourist destination or busy downtown location, only to have a passerby enter your shot and wreck everything? When it comes to forced perspective photography, it's even more important that you don't have anything in the image that distracts from your concept, since the smallest detail being off can ruin the entire illusion. If you're going to be shooting your forced perspective photos in a busy location, figure out when the peak hours are so that you can avoid the busiest times of the day. Your best bet is probably going to be early in the morning to take advantage of the light by avoiding the crowds. We can't all live near famous landmarks and tourist destinations like the Statue of Liberty or the Chicago Bean, but if you happen to have a local landmark nearby, it can be a great location for your forced perspective shots.
7. Use a Photo as One of Your Subjects
Similar to the book cover portrait photo idea, try recreating a photo of a particular location from the exact same vantage point, and hold up the original photo so that it lines up perfectly. This forced perspective photography technique works especially well with a photo from a different time period, so that you can demonstrate in a single image how much has changed and what has stayed the same over the years.
8. Introduce Bokeh Lights Into Your Composition
A lot of forced perspective photography centers around making objects appear to be something they are not. For example, a photographer might position these blurry light circles so that they look like they are food in a bowl, or like someone is blowing bubbles with the bokeh lights.
9. Get Inspired by Nature
No matter where in the world you live, there is probably some sort of natural location around you that would be the perfect spot for your forces perspective photography. If you're lucky enough to live near a waterfall, try placing a glass in front of it so that it looks like the waterfall is pouring into the glass. This is just one of the many creative forced perspective images that you can make using nature as your inspiration.
10. Use the Sun or the Moon as Your Subject
Both the sun and the moon can be a great prop for your forced perspective photos. One common technique is to use a model and have them pretend to hold the sun or moon, or even eat it. Since your main light source will be positioned behind your model, you will likely end up with a silhouette photo. This effect can help you to create an immersive optical illusion that plays with human perception in a uniquely satisfying way.
11. Plan and Prepare All of Your Props Ahead of Time
While it's possible to create an amazing forced perspective photo without preparation, if you plan out your concept ahead of time, you'll be able to focus on lining up the shot rather than worrying about what you're trying to do and how to make it happen. This can also same time and help you avoid ending up with a haphazard photo or a concept that just doesn't quite make sense. Try transforming a local landmark into something unique by preparing a paper cutout that gives it a new twist. For example, you could take a statue of a person and alter their pose by incorporating a printed cutout of their limbs in a different position.
12. Treat Shadows as Your Subjects
If you don't have any friends available to act as your model, don't worry! You can actually use your own shadow to create the impression of a person in your forced perspective photography. For example, you can stand in front of a wall so that your shadow is visible and interact with an object on the wall. This technique can add dimensionality and visual interest to your photos and create an engaging image.
13. Play With Scale by Using Miniature Toys
If you happen to have some small toys or action figures hanging around the house, this forced perspective idea could be the perfect opportunity for you to experiment in your home. You can play with scale by making the miniature toy appear much larger than they are, and you can even interact with them, making yourself appear to be the same size or even much smaller, depending on how much space you have and your photo concept.
14. Create a Headless Illusion Using Two Models
This forced perspective technique makes it look like someone is sitting next to their own disembodied head! In reality, the illusion is created using two models. Grab a pair of friends, and position one of them so they are sitting down and facing away from the camera, with their head down so that the neck and head are not visible from your point of view. The second model will then crouch down so that their body is hidden, and place their head on the seat next to the first model.
15. Make Your Model Look Like They Are Huge
Create this illusion by finding an object that is clearly quite large, like a rock, a tree, or a skyscraper, and position your model so it looks like they are holding this large object. You can also do this with two people as your subject, where one appears to hold their friend in their palm or be squishing them like a bug.
16. Make It Look Like Your Model Is Tiny
In this technique, you will position your model to be much further away from the camera, with a recognizably small object close to the camera. This will make it look like you have shrunk down to the size of household objects. Keep in mind that you need a large amount of distance in order to accomplish this.
17. Rotate Your Image in Post Production To Create Impossible Scenarios
This technique allows you to make it look like your subject is doing something physically impossible, like casually strolling up the side of a building. It's all about getting a perfectly vertically or horizontally aligned photo and rotating it 45 degrees in order to mess with human perception.
18. Experiment With Reflections
If you have access to anything reflective like a window, a mirror, or still water like a puddle or lake, you can use these to create amazing forced perspective symmetry photography.
19. Create the Illusion of a Framed Photo in Your Composition
For another cute family portrait photo idea that you can do in your own backyard, have the kids hold an empty picture frame with the parents far enough back to look like they are inside the frame.
20. Use Your Hands
Some of the best forced perspective photos come from using human hands to play with scale. By positioning your hands closer to the camera, you can make it look like you are holding a flying airplane as if it's a toy, among endless other possible compositions.
21. Create Comical Situations
Forced perspective photography can lend itself really well to creating situations that are so unexpected and strange that you can't help but laugh. For example, grab a pair of your shoes and place them in the foreground, then have your model far in the background to create the illusion that they are wearing giant shoes.
22. Pretend to Paint Your Surroundings
Hold a paintbrush, spray paint can, or other drawing utensils, and position your hand so that it looks like you are either an artist working on a miniature or a huge hang creating the world.
23. Make It Look Like Your Subject Is Balancing
By placing an object in the foreground and a person in the background, a photographer can make it appear like they are balancing on the object.
24. Open Your Mouth and Eat the World
Our last forced perspective photography trick is all about playing with scale and creating impossible situations. Have your model open their mouth and pretend to eat anything from a rainbow to a cloud to bokeh lights. You could also make it seem like a fountain is pouring water into their mouth.
Now that you've gotten inspired by all of these great examples of forced perspective photography, you're ready to grab your camera and start creating your own optical illusion photos are home or outside. Remember to keep updating your online portfolio as you go so potential clients can see what you're up to!
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