We have all seen the photos of people holding a building in their hands or lifting up cars or some minuscule object looming massively over another object. A great practice shot to take is of a ball of yarn that towers over a little kitten; “Revenge of the String.”
This technique is called “forced perspective;” not only are the photos hilarious to look at, they are also a lot of fun to make and the best part is it only takes a little bit of creativity. This is one of the most common uses of ground view perspective.
Making your models do crazy things with their hands and feet will just add to the memories of your outing.
We have talked about the fact that taking photos from the ground changes a person’s perspective so now we wanted to take a moment to talk about how you can use that to create come jaw-dropping images.
A great article to check out for inspiration.
I love the shot of the two girls on top of the banana and this is a great example of how to incorporate ground-view photography to create a “forced perspective.” This isn’t magic or Photoshop; however, it can be done on the computer but where is the fun in that.
To create this shot the photographer dropped close to the ground, placed the banana close to the camera and then placed the girls in the background. Because of the snow and cold, this was probably a little bit uncomfortable for the photographer!
Another great example is of the man jumping over the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Again the camera is placed low to the ground to create the illusion that the pad is part of the foreground. If the man wasn’t jumping he would look massive compared to the pad, which is several stories high.
The reason a forced perspective shot is eye-catching is because for just a moment is suspends belief. We know it is not possible for a little girl to be as tall as the Eiffel Tower but an image can’t lie. For just a minute we are fooled into thinking that maybe it is real, that maybe magic does exist.
I definitely recommend using a ground-view technique when trying to create a forced perspective image. You can take a photo like this from the eye-perspective but it won’t be as effective. We are used to seeing things from this height so it is not very unique. Unfortunately, most of the time an eye-level shot just looks like a person holding his or her arms out. Yes I have done this a few times and have been disappointed with my photos. Shooting from a lower perspective just helps to skew the picture just a little bit more.
The important thing to remember when trying to take a forced perspective shot is to have to subjects that are easy to identify. We know that a banana is only a few inches long so it is impossible for two women to stand on it or that a little girl is the same height as the Eiffel Tower.
Another thing to remember is to have a clear foreground and a simple background. If your image is too cluttered you won’t be able maintain the illusion.