27 July, 2012

Camera Settings For Forced Perspective

Forced Perspective is when you make things look bigger or smaller than they are by positioning them nearer/further from the camera, while masking their true distance. Think pictures of people pushing the Leaning Tower Of Pisa. I tried searching for tips for taking FP pictures, but couldn't find any, so I thought about what settings to use.

1. Go Close
Some people say "go wide", but what really matters is how close you are. I'll explain:
What affects how big things are in a photo? Focal length, digital zoom, sensor crop, distance from the camera.
Among these things, focal length, digital zoom and sensor crop do the same thing (in terms of relative sizes of things in the picture). Distance from the camera has a separate effect. See Dolly Zoom my post on this. That's right, zoom does not replace moving the camera. Conversely, moving closer is not equivalent to zooming in.
In FP, you want to emphasise the difference in sizes, which happens when things are closer to the camera. People say go wide because if the lens isn't wide enough, you won't be able to compose the picture properly.

2. Go Small
Reduce your aperture to the smallest possible, to increase Depth Of Field, so both distances are in focus. In this case small cameras are better, since their actual aperture size is smaller, so their DOF is greater than cameras with larger sensors.

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