We’ve all chuckled at those holiday photographs of tourists propping up the leaning tower of Pisa or holding the Taj Mahal between their thumb and forefinger. This is a very simple camera effect called forced perspective, and in this article we’re going to take a look at how these forced perspective images are made. Our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, will explain how to play with focus, depth of field and perspective to create mind-boggling photography effects that change the way the world looks.
Depth of field
Many forced perspective images rely on the fact that close objects look larger than far objects and they require them to be equally sharp in the image so that they appear to be next to each other. This means that the image needs lots of depth of field, which in turn calls for a small aperture to be used.
Compact cameras and mobile phones have a distinct advantage here because their smaller sized sensors result in images having greater depth of field – this is a feature of the fact that they use shorter focal length lenses with high focal length magnification factors.
DSLR photographers should aim to use short focal length lenses rather than telephoto optics to get greater depth of field.
Depth of field extends roughly twice as far behind the focus point as it does in front, so to get the maximum benefit from the depth of field available you should focus just behind the foreground subject, roughly one third of the way into the scene.
This should ensure that the subject at the front of the scene and the background object are sharp.
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