Perspective

Nikon D7000 with Nikon 14-24mm f2.8G; ISO 100, f3.2, 1/200s @ 24mm

First off we need to define what exactly perspective is:

Perspective refers to the relationship of imaged objects in a photograph. This includes their relative positions and sizes and the space between them. In other words, perspective in the composition of a photograph is the way real three-dimensional objects are pictured in a photograph that has a two-dimensional plane.

Perspective is one of those things that is often very misunderstood. I took this from the dslrbodies.com site by Thom Hogan because I could not have written it better myself.

The distance you position your camera from your subject determines perspective. Period.

A lot of people try to make perspective harder than it is, but it’s really that simple: subject distance from camera. If you want to test that, put a zoom on your camera. Take a shot at the wide end, and then without moving closer, zoom all the way in and take another shot. Now crop the wide shot to the angle of view of the telephoto one: they’re the same perspective. Subject/Foreground and Subject/Background relationships are the same between the two shots.

Now do the following: take a shot of a subject with your zoom all the way in. Now zoom all the way out and try to match the angle of view by using your feet to change things. Compare those two shots: very different Subject/Foreground and Subject/Background relationships.

Perspective is one of the least used techniques by amateur photographers. It’s one of the things that immediately gives away someone that has studied photography (or someone who’s lucky ;~): their shots can and do look different.

The geometry within a frame will be derived from the photographer’s position and angle. As a photographer, my position drastically impacts the geometry within my photograph. Elements within a frame will become smaller the further they are from the photographer, while parallel lines will seem to converge in the distance. Used effectively, perspective can add a great sense of depth to a photograph.

Warning objects in mirror may appear distorted

There is a misconception that lenses play a role in perspective. They do not. However, lenses do exhibit certain characteristics that may enhance the perception of depth. Wide-angle lenses can often exaggerate the apparent distance between near and far objects within the frame. They are also prone to distortion. Under certain circumstances these two characteristics can be used to create depth within a photograph.

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