be growing out of his or her collar or supporting his or
her head.
The background should be subordinate to the main
subject in both tone and interest. It should also make the
subject stand out and present it to best advantage.
Unsharpness and blur are effective ways for separating
the subject from the background. Unsharpness can be
accomplished by using a relatively large f/stop to render
the background out of focus. In the case of subjects in
motion, the subject can be pictured sharply and the
Occasionally, you may want to reverse these effects and
record the subject unsharp or blurred and the
background sharp. This is done to create the impression
of the subject being closer to the viewer or to express
motion by holding the camera still as you use a shutter
speed that is too slow to "stop" the motion.
Perspective refers to the relationship of imaged
objects in a photograph. This includes their relative
positions and sizes and the space between them. In other
words, perspective in the composition of a photograph
is the way real three-dimensional objects are pictured in
a photograph that has a two-dimensional plane. In
photography, perspective is another illusion you use to
produce photographs of quality composition.
When you are making pictures, the camera always
creates perspective. Because a camera automatically
produces perspective, many novice photographers
believe there is no need to know much about it. This
attitude is far from correct. When you know the
principles of perspective and skillfully apply them, the
photographs you produce show a good rendition of the
subject's form and shape, and the viewer is given the
sensation of volume, space, depth, and distance.
Additionally, the photographer can manipulate
perspective to change the illusion of space and distance
by either expanding or compressing these factors,
therefore providing a sense of scale within the picture.
Linear Perspective
The human eye judges distance by the way elements
within a scene diminish in size, and the angle at which
lines and planes converge. This is called linear
The distance between camera and subject and the
lens focal length are critical factors affecting linear
perspective. This perspective changes as the camera
position or viewpoint changes. From a given position,
changing only the lens focal length, and not the camera
position, does not change the actual viewpoint, but may
change the apparent viewpoint.
The use of different focal-length lenses in
combination with different lens-to-subject distances
helps you alter linear perspective in your pictures. When
the focal length of the lens is changed but the
lens-to-subject distance remains unchanged, there is a
change in the image size of the objects, but no change
in perspective. On the other hand, when the
lens-to-subject distance and lens focal length are both
changed, the relationship between objects is altered and
perspective is changed. By using the right combination
of camera-to-subject distance and lens focal length, a
photographer can create a picture that looks deep or
shallow. This feeling of depth or shallowness is only an
illusion, but it is an important compositional factor.
Using a short-focal-length lens from a close
camera-to-subject distance, or viewpoint, produces a
picture with greater depth (not to be confused with depth
of field) than would be produced with a standard lens.
Conversely, using a long-focal-length lens from a more
distant viewpoint produces a picture with less apparent
Rectilinear Perspective
Most lenses produce rectilinear perspective that are
typical of what the human eye sees. This is to say that
lines that are straight in the subject are reproduced
straight in the picture. Most pictures are made with
rectilinear lenses.
Fisheye lenses and the lenses used on panoramic
cameras produce a false perspective. A panoramic lens
produces panoramic or cylindrical perspective. In other
words, all straight horizontal lines at the lens axis level
are recorded as straight lines, and all other straight
horizontal lines either above or below the lens axis level
are reproduced as curved lines. The other false
perspective is produced by a fisheye lens in which all
straight lines in the subject are imaged as curved lines
toward the edges of the picture.
Vanishing Point Perspective
In vision, lines that are parallel to each other give
the sensation of meeting at vanishing points. When
parallel lines, either horizontal or vertical, are
perpendicular to the lens axis, the vanishing points are
assumed to be at infinity. Other lines, those which are
parallel to the lens axis, and all other parallel lines at all
other angles to the lens axis meet at definable vanishing

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