One way to create a really interesting photograph is to capture a scene in a way that your viewer would never normally see it in real life.

This is a pretty broad concept so this post is the first in a 5 part series in which I’m going to show you 5 techniques that you can use to add some magic sauce to your images.

By implementing just one of these tips you can create a photo that will be a cut above what your non-photographer friends and family are used to taking (and seeing), so let’s jump right in!

To catch up with the rest of the articles in this series, click below:

How to use perspective to create an interesting photo

No matter what your subject, whether it’s landscapes, people, buildings, food, animals or anything else, you can instantly make your photograph more compelling by viewing the subject from an angle that people never normally see it.

For most people, we see our day to day life viewing our world through one of two visual perspectives… Sitting down or standing up.

So when folks are taking snapshots of their kids playing in the garden or photographing the wonderful scenery around them when they’re on vacation, you can bet they will be shooting from those same two normal eye-height perspectives too.

This sadly results in images that are lacking in interest and can very likely be consigned to the “snapshot” or “instantly forgettable” bucket.

How can you instantly make those images more interesting?

Change your perspective. 

The easiest and best way to get an instant hit with this is by getting down low to the ground. It works for just about any type of photography but especially landscapes and kid/pet portraits.

Here are a couple of great examples where getting down low to the ground has really added massive visual impact to the resulting image.

 


19/52: Show Jumping

It’s not all about getting down on the ground though. The concept is all about thinking how something is normally viewed and then changing it up. Another way to do this is to…

Shoot from up really close

If you’re shooting some kind of famous landmark or building and want to create a photo that doesn’t look like every other one that’s ever been taken of it, then try getting up closer than normal to view it in a more abstract way.

Funny story, I picked this tip up long before I ever started learning about photography. I was watching Billy Connoly’s world tour of Australia a number of years back and he told a story about how his mum was nagging him to bring home a picture of the Opera House – so he stood right up next to it, pointed his camera at a single tile and clicked the shutter.

He told it as a joke, but it always stuck with me and now every time I am faced with shooting a famous landmark I’m always thinking of  how I can shoot it in a way that nobody ever normally does.

 

You can take the same approach whether you’re shooting people, landscapes, food and so on. Here’s an example i found on Flickr, with Billy Connoly’s Opera House shot in mind:

 

sydney opera house sails

 

Shoot at an angle

One more idea that you can take on board when trying to change the perspective up in your photography is to play with angles. I’m not talking about that hip and funky wonky horizon look – I mean either peering up or looking down at your subject from a steep angle.

This can be particularly effective when combined with a wide angle lens because the natural distortion of the lens will help add to the effect.

Here’s a great example of how the distortion created by a wide angle lens combined with a photographers choice of perspective has created an image with huge visual impact.
Sugar Pine Walk - Laurel Hill

 

Summary

The examples that I’ve given in this post are not the only ways in which you can use a creative choice of perspective to add interestingness to your photos.

What I want you to take away from this is the idea of thinking about how you can approach your subjects in a way that shows them from a perspective that people don’t normally see them from.

 

What next?

Now that you grasp the concept of using perspective in your images, you need to go out and try it!

Next time you have a camera in your hands (hey, I’m betting if you have your cell phone on you that you could be trying this out within the next 60 seconds!), start experimenting with perspective. Get down low, get close, move away, shoot at an angle. Just try things out.

Next time you’re on a “proper” shoot, keep these things in mind and try to always be thinking about how most people would “usually” see your subject so that you can shoot it differently.

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