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Friday, February 6, 2009

Raise Your Subject Up to Create Depth

As long as we're on the topic of creating the illusion of distance in landscapes, here's another useful tip: place your main subject higher in the frame if you want to make it seem farther away. By placing the subject higher (or placing the horizon higher) in the frame, you exaggerate the foreground, reinforcing the sense of distance from the camera to the subject and/or the horizon. It gives the viewer the sensation that they would have to walk farther into the scene to get to the subject.

It helps when you're trying to exaggerate space if, as I mentioned in the last post, you use a wide-angle lens and also if you use a small aperture to create a lot of depth of field (near-to-far sharpness). Having sharpness throughout the frame adds to the depth illusion. Creating the illusion of distance in a landscape is very important because in a photograph you're only working with two dimensions--it's up to you to create a feeling of depth. By the way, when you want to accent the sky rather than the foreground, just drop the horizon lower in the frame.

There's a more complete two-part tutorial on creating the depth illusion on my main site. It's a favorite subject of mine so you'll find me writing about it often.

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