I thought it would be quite interesting for me to talk to you today about perspective and perception in how it relates to photography. Kristi has covered the more technical aspects of perspective in her post about composition, I’m going to talk about perspective as a mental viewpoint beyond compositional rules. About how the subject is viewed and how the photographer intends the subject to be perceived.
This week most of you will have been taking photos of blossom, either close ups of individual branches and flowers or some wider angle photos of entire trees. I imagine a number of you, especially in more rural settings, were faced with a choice as to whether you want to capture the entire landscape, just a close up of a particular element or anything in between.
As you’re composing your shot, there are a few other things that you should think about.
What is the focus of your photograph?
In the case of the two photographs below (and the photograph at the very top of this post) of the same tree with dark pink blossom, I didn’t want the viewer to see the messy urban surroundings, the end of the alley behind my city apartment building. I wanted to have focus on nature, the beauty of the blossoms in Spring and the way the light was hitting them that particular evening. By photographing the blossom on this tree close up I can create an illusion of the subject, the focus is entirely on the blossom and the light as I intended.
What do you see?
I made the conscious choice to go in close (standing on tippy toes, leaning on the fence, half climbing on a trash can!) and photograph the blossom without any of the other distracting elements. By seeing the close up photographs alone would you think that the tree above was behind a fence, surrounded by trash cans in a city alley? Or that the blossom below was from a tree growing out of the sidewalk, next to a busy street with an intersecting train bridge and a small city parking lot?
What do you want the viewer to see?
Sometimes you might want to have some of your surroundings in the photograph, depending on what you want the viewer to perceive. Would you like the viewer to see the individual beauty of each petal? The vastness of multiple trees blossoming in Spring? The isolation of a single tree in bloom? How do you want them to feel when they look at your photograph?
I really liked this tree and its clean white blossom, however I’m not a huge fan of those cars parked by the side of the road, something that is unavoidable on the streets of Chicago but not what I wanted at the time. I wandered around the tree to try and find a better angle to photograph it from, an angle that portrayed what I wanted the viewer to see. All of the angles of this particular tree gave a similar view, until I turned a corner and found another, the exact same type of tree in the front yard of a large apartment building.
I much prefer the second more urban shot of the tree with the white blossom. Sure, the tree itself is less obvious there in the background but the entire scene captures something that I really wanted to be able to show the viewer, the beauty that can be found in an urban setting.
Remember to check out Kristi’s awesome post from last week on Composition, and Alicia’s fantastic tips from the first week on shooting in the golden hour!
I’m teaming up with Alicia of Project Alicia and Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud to bring you the Leap Into Spring! Photo Challenge – a 6-week photography challenge aimed at capturing the beauty of spring.
Just a few details:
Not experiencing spring in your part of the world? No problem. All are invited regardless of geographic location.
Two prompts to choose from each week! Share your favorite images inspired by one of our weekly prompts. Or both. It’s totally up to you.
The linky will remain open from 9am Friday – 9am Thursday CST. Leap Into Spring! blog post or Flickr photo, not your blog’s home page or Flickr photostream. Feel free to share your photos in our Leap Into Spring! Flickr Group as well.
We’ll be showcasing some of your lovely photos by pinning our favorite submissions to our Leap Into Spring! Pinterest Board each week.
We love Instagram just as much as you do! We’ll be on the lookout for your lovely spring photos, so be sure to use the #leapintospring hashtag.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to grab our lovely button!
Next week’s prompt will be Rain/Water. For a complete list of upcoming prompts, head on over to the Leap Into Spring! Photo Challenge page.