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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.

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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.

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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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Guide for High-Speed Portrait Photography: 4 Tips from Experts

Guide for High-Speed Portrait Photography: 4 Tips from Experts

Your photography career and hobby most likely began with portrait photography, a niche that aims to capture people’s personalities in photographs. It’s a good introduction to photography, with little to no barrier to entry. A person with a camera can easily begin shooting portraits, and as a beginner, it’s a good exercise of the fundamental skills that have to be mastered for photography. It is a practice that will sharpen your use of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Once you master these basics, it’s time to move up to the big leagues. You can opt to explore other niches, or build upon your basic knowledge of portraiture. One specialty you can try out is the art of high-speed portrait photography.

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High-speed photography is one of modern technology’s byproducts. With the introduction of high-speed sync flashes, photographers are able to take beautiful photos a lot easier, while also providing more possibilities in terms of creative photography. Through this, portrait photographers have conceived outdoor images that are not overexposed, and allows viewers to direct their full attention towards the subject of the photo. By choosing a larger aperture and a faster shutter speed, they can ensure a shallower depth of field, soften backgrounds, or darken the sky for drama. The same technique can be done in brightly-lit rooms, or other places where you do not have much control over lighting.

To help you get into this niche, we recommend that you invest in a modern trigger device like the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, which can control either your camera or flash. This handy device, which is already used by experts, is very useful because of its wide array of trigger modes, and its ability to transform your camera into a high-speed capture device. Its best application in high-speed portraiture is to use it as a high-speed flash trigger. Your flash will be a key component in this niche, as it will help supplement illumination that is lessened by the narrow aperture you will be using. All you need to do to set it up is to connect the camera trigger via the accompanying flash connection cable. Download the MIOPS Mobile app on your smartphone’s application store, then use the app to switch to the cable release mode. 

To get you started, here’s a guide for high-speed portrait photography:

 

High-Speed Portrait Photography

1. Lessen blur.

Before the more creative uses of high-speed portrait photography, here’s a basic one: to remove blurs and camera shakes. For photographers who prefer holding their cameras, a high-speed sync flash can do the trick. This is especially true for outdoor photographers, who do not have the luxury of time to set up their tripods every time they change locations. Holding your camera can spell the difference between great pictures and missed opportunities. Moving around and following your models is more common outdoors. To have candid photos, you’d have to be ready for spontaneous moments. Having a high-speed sync flash ready will help you take quick snapshots minus the camera shakes.

 

High-Speed Portrait Photography

2. Use a shallow depth of field.

Depth of field is one of the most essential facets of photography that you have to master. It is basically the distance between objects in your photographs, relative to the subject that you want to focus sharply on. In brightly-lit places, your images can tend to appear flat because of too much depth of field. This means that everything will be in-focus, distracting from the hero of your photo. To avoid this, you can adjust your camera’s aperture. You can begin at f/4, and then adjust to a larger aperture depending on how little you want to highlight in the picture. Just remember that larger apertures result in a shallower depth of field, and a faster aperture.

Related Article: What is the Depth of Field in Photography?

 

High-Speed Portrait Photography

3. Darken the sky.

If you’re shooting during the day but want to achieve a darker backdrop, you can turn to high-speed portraiture. You can do this by underexposing the daylight, and setting your shutter speed at a much faster rate. This limits the light that enters your aperture, helping you achieve the dramatic result that your portrait needs. You can use this technique for creative portraiture, and maybe even moody wedding photographs.

 

High-Speed Portrait Photography

4. Capture action.

High-speed sync flash can help you capture movement no matter your light source. As soon as you opt for higher shutter speeds, you’re guaranteed to capture any movement in front of your camera. With this ability, you can add creative elements to your portraits. Your models can move around, dance, and maybe even make gestures that represent their personalities. Some photographers are able to go to even more creative routes with the addition of water, smoke, powder, paint, and other props imaginable. Really, once you master the techniques behind high-speed portraiture, everything is possible.

Related Article: How to Choose a Good Flash for High Speed Photography

 

High-Speed Portrait Photography

Conclusion

High-speed portrait photography offers a lot of practical and creative applications for photographers. The above-mentioned uses are only basics, so we encourage you to build upon this knowledge through experimentation. Great photographers are great at assessing situations and predicting results. By knowing what to expect from high-speed sync, you’ll know whether it is an appropriate time to use the technique.

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It would be a great idea for you to practice the technique outdoors. Have your friends come over; photograph your kids; or simply shoot objects that are already outdoors. The key to mastering this technique (or any other technique) is to practice. Through practice, you will learn and understand what your camera and flash can do at different speeds and apertures. Take note of how the lighting differs, and how much shadows are filled in at different settings. Play around with your MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, and see how you can incorporate the modern device into your workflow.

High-speed portrait photography was made possible through the availability of high-speed sync flashes. Since its introduction to photographers, it has been about possibilities and innovation. As a photographer, you are free to take advantage of this gift of technology for your creative pursuits, whether used for high-speed portraiture or other niches. 

Related Article: How to Shoot Portrait Photography Using a Camera Trigger?

Related Article: High Speed Photography Explore Site

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How to Shoot Portrait Photography Using a Camera Trigger?

How to Shoot Portrait Photography Using a Camera Trigger?

Portrait photography may be the first thing you learn as a photographer. It is a niche of photography that is focused on capturing a person and their personality in an image. It relies very much on a photographer’s artistry and understanding of appropriate camera settings to capture the best pictures possible. Most of the time, portraits are commissioned and are used by clients in a variety of ways, as a part of their home gallery walls or as biography photos on their websites or books. Needless to say, photographers find that this niche provides them an unending number of shoots. It is not just fun, it is also very lucrative.

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Camera Trigger

What is a Camera Trigger?

To improve your services as a portrait photographer, it is inevitable that you begin investing in accessories that will make your process seamless and efficient. One such investment is the purchase of a nice camera trigger that will guarantee steadier and better shots. It is mainly used to trigger your camera’s lens minus the physical contact with the shutter button. A camera trigger is very handy, especially in situations that require stability to achieve sharp images. This can be used for macro photography, HDR photography, and night photography. However, with a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can also use triggers innovatively for your portraiture.

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Cheap camera triggers come with basic remote trigger capability without any extra functionality. However, if you prefer one that will offer more functions, we suggest you check out the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger. More than just a trigger, it offers unique functions that will help you take nearly impossible pictures through a list of diverse photography modes, like lightning, sound, HDR, and Laser. With the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, you can control your camera with just a press of a few buttons on your smartphone through an application. It can also be used to trigger your flash, not just the camera.

Related Article: What is a Camera Trigger? A Simple Guide for Beginners

 

How will it help with Portrait Photography? 

Now that you know the basics of what a camera trigger is, here's how to shoot portrait photography using a camera trigger. All you will be needing are a camera, the trigger, some props, and your creativity!

 Stabilize your shot

1. Stabilize your shot

Before using it's more creative uses, master the most basic use of your camera trigger first. Simply attach your trigger to your camera, and use it to fire its shutters. Don’t forget that you will still need to apply all your skills to this shot, so make sure that your subject is ready, the lighting is apt, and your composition is on point.

Trigger your flash

2. Trigger your flash

Not many will agree, but using flashes for portrait photography can give natural light a run for its money. As long as you know how to manipulate it's light, you can expect to achieve awesome results. A camera trigger like the MIOPS Smart+ can attach to your flash. Just set up your flash where it will give the perfect lighting that will be flattering to your subject.

Play with water

3. Play with water

Portrait photography is more than just taking pictures of people who are sitting right in front of your camera. You can play around with other elements to come up with unique photographs. With something like the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger in your arsenal, you can take creative water droplet refractions that reflect your client’s photographs.

To do this, set up your camera at a distance from your subject. Attach the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger to your camera and use the laser mode. Have a setup that will release water drops that will break the trigger’s laser beam. As soon as the water drop breaks its line, the trigger will prompt your camera to take a picture.

Related Article: What Equipment Do You Need to Take Stunning Water Droplet Photos?

Let them move

4. Let them move

Some movement will help bring out your client’s characteristics during your shoot. This is especially true when shooting outdoors in a context that is most familiar to your client. If your client is a traveler, maybe a quick stroll in the woods will bring out genuine emotions from them. Make them feel comfortable, and suggest some interaction with their environment.

In cases where movement is necessary, setting up your camera on a tripod will help with stability. Similar to the water drop trick earlier, all you need to do is attach your handy MIOPS Smart+ to the camera and use the laser mode. Advise your clients to move within the laser’s line, and watch your camera capture great photos.

Experiment with the shutter speed

5. Experiment with the shutter speed

Camera accessories, like the MIOPS Mobile Dongle, can turn your phone into an instant camera trigger. With this accessory, you can keep your camera’s shutter open for as long as you need it to be. With slower shutters, you will be exposing your subject much longer, which will make for unique photographs with dramatic effects.

Doing this is very simple. Set up your camera with the MIOPS Mobile Dongle attached. Modify its settings to keep the shutter open for longer, and ask your subject to make minute movements. It can be something as simple mini head shakes. Another thing you can do is ask someone in the studio to make hand movements within the frame while your main subject sits still. To make the subjects stand out in the photo, you can ask your clients to wear black and use a black background. Also avoid lighting that is too bright, since your shutter will be open for longer.

portraits

You see, there is much you can do with your camera alone. However, having a versatile camera trigger on hand will help you capture great photos that your clients will appreciate. The tips that we listed are merely guides. Do not forget to coordinate with your clients before experimenting, since your goal as a portrait photographer is always to represent them at their best in their final photos. Any of these tips can surely help with taking creative shots, but remember that it isn’t just the final photos that your clients will appreciate. More than that, they will remember how you interacted with them, and how you involved them in taking their own portraits.

Related Article: How to Photograph Lightning Using DSLR and Camera Trigger

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