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Making Impactful Images with Forced Perspective Photography

Making Impactful Images with Forced Perspective Photography

The art of photography can be considered entirely based on composition. Composition in this sense doesn’t only govern where subjects are placed in a photograph but instead what makes up the photograph and how every single visual element interact and affects our perception of other elements as well as the entire image as a whole. This image that is put together by all these elements can be enough to tell a story, illustrate a phenomenon, or at the very least, trigger curiosity. 


What is Forced Perspective Photography

Forced perspectives are created by using juxtaposition of two or more visual elements that create unique, unusual, or exaggerated perspectives depending on scale or context. Forced perspective is a compositional technique or method that can be applied in any genre to create visual impact and show unusual occurrences created by specifically skewed angles of view. 

What is Forced Perspective Photography

Forced perspective in photography can either happen spontaneously or coincidentally, or on the other hand, can be done in a totally contrived manner through careful planning and execution. In any case, however it happens, the result creates a sort of optical illusion using framing and scale that makes the viewer take a little more time to fully understand the actual depth and dimension of the photograph. 

1. Camera with a wide-angle lens

    Taking forced perspective images requires playful use of layers of an image. This is often done by having something relatively smaller put close to the camera to distort the scale against a larger object that is farther away from the camera. While this can be done with any camera and lens, the interplay of size and depth can best be achieved using a wide angle lens that will be able to contain the objects within the frame and even possibly distort the perspective of the objects. 

    2. Tripod

    Doing forced perspectives requires ultimately precise composition, specifically placement and framing of objects in the photo. While this can be done quickly hand-held, there are some instances where positions have to be held still to create perfect alignment between the involved layers of subjects in the photograph. In some instances, it may also be helpful to shoot long exposures. There are instances wherein one of the objects that create the forced perspective effect may not necessarily show the intended effect with a quick exposure but instead illustrating the path of its motion. For such projects, a tripod is necessary not just to hold the right camera angle but also to precent any unwanted motion blur.

    Doing forced perspectives requires ultimately precise composition

    More commonly, forced perspective photographs that involve having yourself as one of the subjects when there isn’t anyone else to take the shot for you, definitely requires a tripod and a way to trigger the camera remotely. 

    3. Camera Remote Trigger

      In almost every kind of photography project, one of the most useful and helpful tools that a photographer can have is a remote trigger. Camera triggers have varying functions from as simple as operating the camera from a certain distance for self portraits, to automating complex time-lapse or HDR functions. In shooting forced perspective photos, there are various ways that remote triggers can be of help. When the photographer is part of the image, a trigger can be used to do it seamlessly. For more complicated projects, smart camera triggers can also make shooting HDR, multiple exposures, focus stacking, or special effects images much simpler.


      The MIOPS Smart+ is the epitome of a smart camera trigger that offers a wide range of automated functions useful for various types of photography. The Smart+ offers simple camera remote and timer functions that can be set using the MIOPS mobile app. At the same time, it can easily automate exposure bracketing for HDR shooting, precise timing through the sound, laser, and lightning sensors, and seamless interval shooting for time-lapse photography.

      Fundamentals of Forced Perspective Photography

      1. Layers

        Creating forced perspective in photography is an interplay of two or more layers. Commonly, this consists of the foreground which is the immediate layer proximal to the camera, the mid-ground, or simply a distinguishable subject that plays a key role in the visual design, and the background which may or may not be part of the perspective being created. By meticulous placement of each element found in each layer as well as with the proper positioning of the camera, you can align them in such a way that they physically or contextually blend with each other to create an almost seamless visual flow. 

        2. Context

          While composition is what creates the magic of forced perspective images, it is nothing without the context of the image. The proper placement and visual harmony of the image is what creates the context that ultimately makes the photograph interesting and worth taking a closer look into. This pretty much creates the story that the photograph tells or at the very least spark the curiosity in the viewers. 

          Impactful Images with Forced Perspective Photography

          Context is the connection that binds the visual elements in the photo even if they are by nature incompatible. This incompatibility may be in size, nature, or depth and it is the act of making them fit together in a photograph that makes it a forced perspective. These contrived interactions between visual elements may create a mood of wonder, fascination, or humor depending on what the story of the image suggests. 

          3. Scale

            The sense of scale in the juxtaposition of objects in the frame is a factor that you have to deal with and can definitely use to your advantage. With a relatively wide-angle lens, any object closer to the camera will appear much larger in scale compared to another object farther away from the camera. This can make a much smaller object look much bigger in scale which creates an illusion of having giant versions of these small objects. 

            A common concept that uses scale this way is a humorous approach of making small objects seem as if they are falling on people. These can be coins, keys, or any other small object that you want to virtually create a giant version of. Another approach is to photograph small animals such as puppies, squirrels, or even birds and have them very close to the camera and making them seem much bigger compared to the “regular sized” objects or people in the background. Using living objects as the foreground element may be tricky especially if it is an untrained or wild animal. With the use of a laser trigger function such as the one offered by the MIOPS Smart+, you can automate the shooting process by having the camera automatically shoot when something crosses the path between the camera and the background. 

            4. Balance 

              On the other hand, a well executed forced perspective image can create realistic images using miniature objects and a properly lit background. With the use of intricately and meticulously designed scale models, a photographer can recreate an image of a relatively large object such as a car, house, building, etc by proper composition, lighting, and focusing. 

              Generally, using an upright image of the scale model where the object is set close to the ground or the surface, the correlation of the object and the actual distance or size of the ground behind it is distorted in such a way that scale becomes altered. However, one common challenge with this is the difference in lighting especially when using ambient light. Typically, any small object would have much less luminosity compared to a much larger object in the background especially when the sky is part of the image. This can be solved using either of two approaches. The first one is to use supplementary lighting to simulate how a naturally lit object of the right scale would appear. The second is by using exposure blending techniques such as HDR.

              Fundamentals of Forced Perspective Photography

              Doing HDR images is made much simpler with the Smart+ that automates and smoothens the process. The camera remote trigger which is operated with the smartphone app can be set to automatically adjust the exposure settings depending on how many images you want to take and the difference in brightness between two consecutive images. By shooting 3, 5, 7, or even 9 exposures covering enough of the range of visible light, you can combine these images through dedicated software to manipulate the lighting and make the image seem as natural as possible. 

              5. Details

                One common challenge with forced perspectives in photography is managing the details in all involved layers of the image. Commonly when one would shoot with a wide angle lens and the foreground element is in focus, it would mean a certain degree of blurring on the layers behind it. This depth of field, even if using relatively small apertures, can often be the reason why the forced perspective doesn’t look convincing enough. To overcome this challenge, multiple exposures can be done (if subjects can be kept still) to create better detailed image both in the foreground and the background. 

                Forced Perspective Photography Details

                Focus stacking is done by taking one exposure with the lens focused on one layer, taking another exposure focusing on another layer, and repeating the process as necessary. Afterwards, by combining all the well-focused parts of each exposure into a single frame, you can create a hyper-detailed image and thereby eliminating that difference in detail between one layer and the other. 

                Taking forced perspective images is a good showcase of technical skills and visual creativity. The essence of taking forced perspective images is the onset of the idea that comes entirely from the photographer’s imagination which is then translated into a visible and perceivable image. With unique forced perspective photography ideas, the proper tools, and the technical know-how, you can do forced perspective photography at home, in a studio, or even at a tourist spot to create unique travel images. When creativity and technical ability meet, your images create impact and have a unique story to tell.


                Blog Credit: Nicco Valenzuela

                Nicco started his photographic journey in 2007 practicing the craft as a hobby. Currently, he shoots for various local and international architectural firms and construction companies. Out of his love for sharing his knowledge, Nicco began writing about photography and various pieces of gear.

                Creative Portrait Photography with Forced Perspectives

                Creative Portrait Photography with Forced Perspectives

                One of the most popular, and perhaps the oldest type of photography is portraiture or portrait photography. The aim of this genre is more than just taking a photo of a face or faces of the subjects. It’s about capturing the uniqueness of an individual or individuals. It’s about portraying the essence, quality, and identity of a person.

                In order to take a photo of a full-body portrait that accurately represents the subject’s personality, photographers traditionally make use of proper lighting, creative backdrops, and various poses that convey the identity that the subjects want to represent.


                However, just like other photography genres, portrait photography has experienced transformations and introduced newer and more creative camera techniques for taking portrait photos. One example of these portrait innovations shooting a portrait using forced perspectives.

                What is Forced Perspectives as a Photography Technique for Portraiture?

                Forced perspectives is a photography technique that plays with our visual perception by visually manipulating the relationship between two or more objects, in terms of distance, angle, perspective, and focus. 

                Technically, forced perspective photography uses a type of optical illusion to make subjects closer, farther away, larger, or smaller than they actually are. Using one’s imagination, the types of images that one can produce through this technique are limitless–and portrait photographers are no exception.

                Portraiture using forced perspectives delivers some of the most interesting images out there. Combining technique, creativity, the proper camera equipment, and most importantly, accurate camera control, can help anyone master this portrait photography technique.

                forced perspective

                While you can create forced perspective shots for existing raw photos using editing software, using your camera alone can give you a higher quality image, plus the experience that you gain from practicing this most recent shooting technique.

                In this article, we’ll talk about how you can complete your very first forced perspective portrait photoshoot by introducing the proper camera setup and creative portrait photography tips below.

                Creative Forced Perspectives Ideas for Portrait Photography

                Here are some fun forced perspective portraits that you should try. 

                Flat Image Portraits

                1. Flat Image Portraits

                One of the main goals of flat image forced perspective is to make the image appear two-dimensional. From its name, the subject and the background will blend together to create a portrait that looks literally “flat.” 

                That’s why, in this technique, your camera angle is important. Just a few degrees off or positioning your subject sideways, can reveal the real depth and break the illusion.

                There are a lot of portraiture ideas on which you can use this technique. For instance, you can portray a suspended running pose against a patterned backdrop. Flooring with colorful tiling, masonry, or carpeted flooring can provide an interesting geometry to the shot.

                Another more popular use of the flat image method is taking a portrait of a person riding a bike. You can make an outdoor shoot in a grassy field as your backdrop. Add elements, such as flowers, paper planes, leaves, and a flowing dress to create an illusion of speed and forward motion. 

                Framed Photo Illusion Portraits

                2. Framed Photo Illusion Portraits

                In photography, framing is a clever technique that helps your audience focus on a specific subject in your image. You can achieve this by using a strategic composition and introducing an object or a geometric element to block and frame the subject.

                Framing is a great method when doing solo or group portraiture. Some of the most beautiful portraits using this technique are often candid and spontaneous.

                 Solo Portraits

                3. Solo Portraits

                You can use an actual picture frame to “frame” the subject and make the audience focus on their facial expression. You can intentionally blur out the other parts of the photo to further emphasize the focus of the shot. 

                Additionally, using a black and white filter can add a narrative to the image. The combination of these elements can deliver a meaningful image that can effectively convey the emotional state of the subject when the photo was taken.

                4. Group Portrait

                You can also use framing to add a creative composition to your group photos, especially family photos. For instance, it’s your kid’s first birthday and you’re looking to take a family portrait for the invitation cards. Instead of hiring a photographer, you can try these tips for a photoshoot.

                Prepare a wooden or decorated frame. It can either be a square, circular, or rectangular frame. Additionally, make sure that it is light as you’ll be lifting it for multiple shots. Mount your camera on a sturdy tripod. One important item here is a remote camera trigger that can wirelessly signal your camera to shoot. 

                Finally, decide on your composition. What do you want your group photo to look like? Assign a position for every person who is going to be in the shot. Decide who will hold the frame and who will be in the framed photo illusion. This person will stand farther into the background, behind everyone. Do multiple test shots and be creative with your composition.

                Group Portrait

                5. Interact with Your Environment

                One of the most important techniques in forced perspective is manipulating the image’s depth of field (DoF). Basically, depth of field defines your image’s perspectives, and how far or near your subject is, in relation to the other physical environment. 

                In forced perspective shots, the goal is to totally eliminate the effects of depth of field in order to trick the idea and flawlessly deliver your optical illusion. The best way to do that is to interact with your background.

                If you want to complete portrait photography using this method, start by finding a site that allows you to interact with your environment. Some of the favorite sites of forced perspective photographers are streets, buildings, flat surfaces, stairs, corridors, and boardwalks. 

                Remember that you’re trying to create an illusion, so don’t be too literal and boring! For example, what can you do with train tracks as your backdrop? What do they look like? Think of an object that is structurally similar to them. Any ideas? Yes - a ladder!

                Create an illusion of the subject, climbing a ladder, grabbing and stepping on the rail sleepers just as you do on the ladder’s steps. Create a sense of upward movement by making exaggerated poses with the arms and legs. 

                Capture Portraits of Giants

                6. Capture Portraits of Giants

                When you Google “forced perspectives,” the top results will be photos of a giant who is about to trample on a frightened group of tiny people or a miniature building. This is a neat optical illusion, made possible by the different techniques and tricks in forced perspective.

                Some variations of this type of forced perspective portrait are a person eating a car, pinching a hot air balloon, and stomping on a mountain or skyscraper.

                If you want to make a similar portrait and make yourself look like a giant without using editing software, think of the right composition. 

                The object that you want to manipulate to appear smaller should be farther in the background. The subject that you want to appear larger should be nearer the camera. Check your camera frame and make sure that you have your desired size. Everything should be lined up properly before remotely activating your camera’s shutter.

                Finally, the most important factor to make the illusion work is to set your camera’s focus. The larger subject and the smaller objects in the background should have the same level of focus and sharpness. 

                Use Objects in Nature

                7. Use Objects in Nature 

                The most creative forced perspectives make use of very unlikely props that you can find everywhere. Again, as a type of illusion, it uses deception and mimicry to transform ordinary images into fantastic photos.

                For instance, you can use different kinds and colors of flowers to create creative full-body portraits of classical dancers, ballerinas, and other similar subjects that embody grace, elegance, and beauty. 

                You don’t have to limit yourself to flowers. Try other objects that will fit the narratives that you are trying to portray. If you’re shooting a portrait session that wants to highlight strength and firmness, you can rely on the textures and toughness of tree barks, rocks, and objects with similar characteristics.

                Gravity-Bending Portraits

                8. Gravity-Bending Portraits

                Finally, one of the easiest forced perspective techniques that you can incorporate into your portrait photography is shooting gravity-defying images–or at least that’s how it will look like.

                Gravity bending is an awesome forced perspective trick that relies on the background, some quick post-processing, and most importantly, your creativity. Here’s how to do it.

                First, find a safe place, such as a wall or a building, where you can do your photo shoot. Then, ask your subject to lie on the ground. They should be seated, with their legs flush against the wall.  Next is to create an illusion of height. Turn your camera on its side so that, in your camera’s frame, the wall will become the ground.

                For the illusion to work, however, make sure your subject’s hair, clothing, and other props are “hanging” in the right direction.  

                Aside from these examples, you can also explore your own forced perspectives and ideas. The only thing you need is to learn how to set up a forced perspective portrait shot. We’ll talk about it in the next section.

                Three Important Factors that Determine the Success of Your Forced Perspective Shot

                Having the proper camera setup can ensure that your first attempt at forced perspective is a success.  

                Here are some professional tips from creative portrait photographers on how to set up the most important settings in your camera involved in taking forced perspective shots.

                Forced Perspective Shot

                1. Aperture Settings 

                One of the most significant settings in forced perspective is the aperture. As you know, the aperture controls the amount of light that enters your camera. It also determines your depth of field and how your photo will turn out, in terms of clarity or blurriness. 

                When using forced perspective, you have to use a small aperture to make sure that the subject and the background have the same level of clarity. In other words, to create your visual illusion and blend together two or more objects, you have to maintain the correct depth of field that delivers crystal clear details in every part of the frame. 

                The recommended aperture settings, depending on the type of portrait you want to shoot, are within the range of f/8 to f/16. Adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

                2. Composition Planning

                For a forced perspective shot to work, you have to study and plan your composition. It is a critical aspect that will determine your success or failure. 

                Placing your subjects against the background, positioning the objects and props to support your optical illusion, and blending the elements of the foreground with the background, are just some steps that you can take to create a better and more convincing composition.

                3. Angle

                Unique and thrilling portrait shoots are done outdoors, with photographers placing their camera and tripod in hard-to-reach places just to achieve that perfect angle. After all, the angle is one vital element of forced perspectives, as shown in the examples earlier.


                4. Camera Equipment

                Finally, the most important factor is camera equipment. You don’t have to use the most advanced camera gear. Even an entry-level DSLR can deliver stunning forced perspective portraits out there. However, if you want to upgrade and transform your shots, you’re gonna need an additional camera device, especially a gadget that can help you control your camera from a distance.

                In the examples above, we’ve mentioned how you need a camera control device that can wirelessly trigger your gear to shoot. The most recommended of them all is MIOPS Flex, a camera gadget known to have helped creative photographers overcome the challenges of forced perspective shots.

                Why is MIOPS Flex a great device for Forced Perspective Photographers?

                MIOPS Flex is a camera control device that can be mounted on your tripod and attached to your camera. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Through its dedicated MIOPS mobile app, you can control your camera from a distance.

                Creative portraits using forced perspective are often done outdoors, using natural and manmade structures as your background. It means that, unlike shooting in a controlled studio environment, you’re going to deal with different light sources. 

                You’re going to have to constantly adjust your camera’s important settings, such as the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and exposure, among others. You can do all these using Flex’s MIOPS mobile app.

                Additionally, having a camera remote control can give you the freedom to complete portrait photography sessions on your own or without manual control, whenever and wherever you want. If you’re traveling, on the road, or just having fun with friends, you can leave your camera on your tripod and start shooting from the best angle.

                Aside from being a great camera accessory for forced perspective and portrait photography, there are other amazing things that you can accomplish using this device. Find out more about MIOPS Flex and other MIOPS gadgets today! 

                Blog Credit: Charm Villalon

                Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.

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                The Essential Guide to Forced Perspective Photography

                The Essential Guide to Forced Perspective Photography

                Photography is increasing rapidly day by day. Nowadays, every person carries a camera in their pocket. Over 50 billion photos have been posted to Instagram so far, and around 100 million images are being uploaded every day. That’s a huge figure, and it’s just one social media website. So, what can you do to make your photography work stand out? Well, the one way is to click some extraordinary pictures that are not being clicked by others. One of such photography is forced perspective.

                What is forced perspective photography?

                Forced perspective photography is a creative technique used by photographers. This technique uses optical illusion to make objects appear smaller, larger, closer to the camera, or further away from the camera. In simple terms, the placement of the subject is done in a way that the subject appears to interact with other people or objects in a totally unique way.

                Forced perspective photography ideas

                Let’s talk about forced perspective ideas. If this term is new for you, it’s a good idea to google “forced perspective photography ideas,” and you’ll find hundreds of forced perspective photos for your inspiration. Select some simple photos first that don’t require other people, and you can do it at the comfort of your home. 


                Some simple ideas like you can make yourself look like a giant or very tiny. If the other object in the picture is bigger than you, it’ll make you huge, and if the other object is smaller than you, it’ll make you tiny. You may use small toys like a dinosaur to make you appear smaller.

                Another idea is to open your mouth and try to eat a tall building or align your face with a book cover. If you see clouds in the sky, you may use a spray can and make it appear like you are spraying the clouds.

                forced perspective photography

                Seven tips for forced perspective photography

                1. Keep it simple:

                Forced perspective photos should be simple. There should be only three things in the picture, the subject, the other object, and a clean background. If you find something that is creating a distraction, try to remove it from the composition. Keep the only elements that are important to create the illusion.

                1. Placement of your subject:

                The placement of your subject is crucial to create the optical illusion. Let’s say you are taking a picture of putting your finger on the top of a tall building. A slight movement of the camera or your finger can ruin the image. So, make sure that everything is placed correctly before clicking the picture, and don’t forget to use the rule of thirds and rule of space when you compose the photo.

                tips for forced perspective photography
                1. Focusing:

                In forced perspective photography, we place one object near the camera and another far away to create the illusion. Always make sure that both objects are in proper focus. If you are clicking using a mobile phone, everything will focus, but if you are using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you need to take care of this. Use a narrow aperture like f/16 to keep everything in focus.

                1. Use a wide-angle lens:

                This photography doesn’t require any specific equipment, but it’s always better to use a wide-angle lens to shoot forced perspective photos. Using a wide-angle lens will give you more depth of field, so both objects in your image will be in focus without needing a very narrow aperture. The second advantage of using a wide lens is that you can get closer to your foreground object without cropping out the background. In simple terms, you’ll get more space in your background to place the other object.

                You can use any other lens, but a wide-angle lens will give you better photographs.

                Use a wide-angle lens in forced perspective photography
                1. Take a test shot and take lots of photos:

                It’s always a good idea to take a test shot and fine-tune the placement of your subjects in the picture. As I wrote above, a tiny movement in the camera or the subject can ruin the illusion you are trying to create. So, take a shot, fine-tune everything and then take lots of images so you can get the one perfect shot. 

                1. Don’t forget about forced perspective photography during travel:

                If you are traveling, you’ll get plenty of forced perspective ideas. Use them, so your travel photos stand out and look unique.

                1. Take advantage of the technology:

                Now day’s lots of camera gadgets are available for creative photography. Use them to your advantage. One such gadget is MIOPS Flex. It gives you the option to control your camera from your smartphone. You can set the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO from your smartphone and press the shutter button remotely.

                equipment for forced perspective photography

                You can also view the images on your smartphone and instantly transfer and share them on your social media accounts.

                Let’s say you are one of your subjects in the picture and you don’t have anyone to help. How will you click the image? You need to set the camera, turn on the timer mode, click the shutter, go to the spot where you need to stand, and pose yourself within 10 seconds. After the shoot, you need to go near the camera, check the picture, and if there is some problem, you need to repeat these steps.

                Now let’s say you are using MIOPS Flex. You can change all the settings in the camera using this device. You can use its live mode to see the composition and placement of you and another object. When everything is ok, you can use timer mode to press the shutter. Why are we using timer mode? So that you can get plenty of time to put your mobile in the pocket and pose properly.


                Not only this, you can view the image on your phone, and if there is some problem, you can retake the photo. If everything is ok, you can download and share the photo on social media instantly.

                So grab your camera, click some breathtaking pictures, and amaze the world. Good luck.

                Blog Credit: Ramakant Sharda

                Ramakant is an Award-Winning Photographer, Author, Mobile Apps Publisher based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. Many of his works have been published in magazines, newspapers, and international blogs. He writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. He has published three (so far) coffee table books. Get his latest book Mastering High-Speed Photography.

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                [faq q1="what is forced perspective photography?" a1="Forced perspective photography is a creative technique used by photographers. This technique uses optical illusion to make objects appear smaller, larger, closer to the camera, or further away from the camera." q2="what are the tips for forced perspective photography?" a2="The placement of your subject is crucial to create the optical illusion. Let’s say you are taking a picture of putting your finger on the top of a tall building." q3="what are the essential equipments for forced perspective photography?" a3="Now day’s lots of camera gadgets are available for creative photography. Use them to your advantage. One such gadget is MIOPS Flex. It gives you the option to control your camera from your smartphone."]