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Lately there have been a ton of photos popping up all over the web of people dominating nature – for example, those rather popular photo techniques of showing someone holding the sun, or having some other kind of direct interaction with it. This has also been done with animals, clouds, mountains, famous landmarks and a number of other objects.

If you have been curious about what this fashionable photography process is, it is called “Forced Perspective”. This is a way of changing the size of an object, the location or the context of an environment by utilizing perspective and optical illusion tricks. Using angle, proximity, position and props, you can set up a very interesting, inspiring and often humorous looking picture that will be sure to grab a lot of attention.

Five Examples of Forced Perspective at Its Best

1. Gravity Fools

Gravity fools

This is perhaps one of my all time favorite forced perspective photos. At first glance your mind might have some trouble working out what is going on. You have one man sitting on the ground, his back against the wall. Another is seemingly running forward to aid a third, who is hanging from a protrusion in the wall between them. But upon further inspection (and with a tilt of the head) you realize that all three are actually laying on the ground. The protrusion is a fire hydrant and a car going by in the far side of the picture turns the whole image around. Simple, brilliant and well made.

2. Desert View

Forced perspective

This one shows how you can give the impression of infinite distance with a few people and a flat background. The desert setting is barren and fascinating, and the colors of the ground meeting the gorgeous blue of the sky clear to the horizon is breathtaking. But the focal point of the picture is a set of seven people evenly spaced into the distance. Each is striking the same pose. The way that they are set up makes it look like the chain of people could be going on for miles. In reality, they are placed a few feet from one another all the way back.

3. Sun Football

This is one of those sun perspective photos I was talking about earlier. It works by putting someone on a generally flat surface outside during sunset, when the flaming star is low in the sky. From there, the person poses in a way that makes it appear small and being handled in some manner by the subject. In this case they ignored the usual convention of having him holding in, and instead waited for the sun to be at a lower point, dipping almost to the horizon. He then pretends to balance it like a soccer ball on the top of his foot. The colors in the background of the sky mix with the fact that he is in complete silhouette to make an awesome shot that is more memorable than most sun perspective photos.

4. Hangman!

Forced perspective

This is another popular photo perspective style. It shows a grown man being ‘dangled’ by a young child, possible his daughter. Using distance as a way of creating a different size is a simple method of generating a forced perspective. This is one that is used continuously in movies, on television and in art. It gives the illusion of a more dramatic size difference by positioning the camera to catch two figures a number of feet from one another. It is very easy to do, and will be one of the biggest tools used for anyone interesting in this kind of photography.

5. Fixing the Washington Monument

Forced perspective

The problem with using famous landmarks for perspective shots is that they are often overdone. I have lost count of the number of photos I have seen where someone is using their fingers to look like they are squeezing the Eiffel Tower, or keeping the Leaning Tower of Pisa upright by resting it on their backs. Yes, it is a cute tourist concept for a personal album. But it is a bit tired for any other purposes.

This shot manages to bring something new to the method by taking advantage of something that was there already. The crane was placed and left by construction workers, so it was not a set shot. Instead, the photographer found a location that would give them the perfect angle and used it along with their chosen landmark to create something new and exciting.

Methods of Forced Perspective

Each one of the examples above gives you a look at the different practices that are used in forced perspective. In the end you will be using four different tools to create different types of image in this genre:

  • Distance
  • Angle
  • Environment
  • Editing

Most of the picture can be done through general setup. A location and angle are set, and the subject(s) are used with or without additional objects. The environment will also lend context or additional material for you to create your shot. Editing will be the final process, though in some cases this might not be necessary. Most photographers will use editing to enhance the shot. Sometimes this is as simple as just turning it to a different angle, like in those pictures that shot the world as upside-down.

It isn’t difficult to create these illusions. It really comes down to being creative enough to think of opportunities to do it. Once you put yourself in that mindset you will see endless possibilities, and from there it is just setting it up. In the meantime we have collected some of the best examples below, enjoy!

Note: All the images are linked to their original authors, we do not take credit for any of these works.

 

 

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Posted by Sonia Tracy

Sonia Tracy is the content editor for PsPrint and editor of PsPrint Design Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company specialize in brochure printing

26 Comments

  1. Dude, this is fantastic! I really enjoyed this fantastic post as well as your article around it! It was really a useful and exciting read! Thank you for sharing this it was a real blast! I’m so impressed about your writing skills and enthusiasm I will retweet and reshare and refacebook and everything! Thanks again!

  2. A great many of these just look way too cheesy. If you’re one of those who likes silly obviously electronically manipulated photos, so be it, but they are NOT appealing to me in the least bit. The photos with the hands in them are horrible!

  3. I agree, these are way too cheesy. Maybe I’m just too old, but more portrait photography should be annotating personality and not attempting much else.

  4. I thought they were slightly cheesy, but was still impressed at how well they captured them. My friends and I have all tried things like this, but have never been able to get the effect as striking as these achieved.

  5. Here are two examples, but they don´t do yours justice great shots and great fun. I enjoy the post

    http://www.fotografiadelecuador.com/photos/sun.jpg
    The sunset on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
    http://www.fotografiadelecuador.com/photos/salar.jpg
    The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

  6. Are you sure number 4 isn’t a photoshop job? The little girl holding the adult, but the rest of the scene, round about where the adult is supposed to be is out of focus. That means the adult should be out of focus too.

  7. Yes really a rare collection and good explanation dude.

  8. Pales in comparison to the above, but… from a couple of weeks ago: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nashworld/5927681186

  9. Very well done! Thanks for sharing.

  10. The Alien photo is brilliant. Great post.

  11. Its crazy !! Some on them are realy easy to do, u just need to think about them 😛

    Great stuff !!!

  12. Very nice & fun. Thanks.

  13. Anthony Katselis July 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Great! Some are really funny!

  14. Shamefully, many of these are post-edited with photoshop.

  15. Very clever if they are “as seen”?
    But still interesting if they composite photos (ie two images cut and pasted together). Patrick Montgomery
    http://www.2020-wedding-photography.com

  16. I had a really good laugh. Who cares if they are cheesy? Lighten up, you guys. Thanks for this clever collection.

  17. Throughly enjoyed this post. The first one is brilliant.

  18. The one with the man bending over with one hand on an orange car and the other hand on a black one is impossible and deffo photoshopped. How can he be bigger than the cars when the cars are in the foreground?

  19. Although some of these are photoshopped, still a pretty fun and entertaining collection of “perspective images” Thanks for sharing.

  20. Cool collection! yes some are photoshopped, so what!
    Lighten up peeps, enjoy life a bit more and smile:)

  21. > one hand on an orange car and the other hand on
    > a black one is impossible and deffo photoshopped

    I don’t agree. The orange car looks like it’s a model. There’s a lot of detail on the ground under which suggests it’s close to. The tyres are too shiny too.

    I think it’s just cleverly done, unlike some of the others which do look ‘shopped.

  22. Very interesting and you have given me many great ideas to play with — thinking outside the proverbial photo box! Thanks!

  23. Way too many cliches, as seems to be the norm in just about every “35 stunning examples of whatever” blog post.

  24. Great photos, but I wouldn’t really class “gravity fools” as forced perspective (it is a very clever photo though)

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