16 Incredible Forced Perspective Examples (+ Tips)

Are you looking for examples of forced perspective? We have what you need!

In this article, we share 16 amazing examples of forced perspective photography. We’ve also got a handful of quick tips – so if you want to capture some great footage on your own, you know exactly what to do.

Ready to be blown away? Let’s dive into it.

What is forced perspective photography?

Forced perspective is a technique that manipulates human perception to make objects appear larger, smaller, further away, or closer than they actually are.

Generally speaking, a forced perspective photo contains a close subject (in the foreground) and a distant subject (in the background). With careful positioning, the photographer makes both subjects appear on the same plane – when they are, in fact, several (or hundreds) of feet apart.

Even if you’ve never heard the term “forced perspective” before, you’ve probably seen classic examples of this type of imagery: tourists pretending to prop up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, people “holding” their each other in the palm of their hands, or a person “crushing” a building with their foot.

Incredible examples of forced perspective

Check out these 16 exceptional examples of forced perspective photography! Be warned, though: they’re incredibly mind-blowing.

forced perspective photography
Terry Lucas, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
forced perspective photography
Wim Goedhart, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
forced perspective photography
Vincent Lock from Houston, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
forced perspective photography
forced perspective photography
Francesco Gasparetti from Senigallia, Italy, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
forced perspective photography
forced perspective photography
forced perspective photography
forced perspective photography
Lorie Shaull from St Paul, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
forced perspective photography
Chris Feser from Seattle, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
forced perspective photography
forced perspective photography

3 Quick Tips for Great Forced Perspective Photos

Capturing breathtaking forced perspective shots isn’t difficult. You just need to know a few tricks:

1. Choose a small foreground subject and a large background subject

The best forced perspective images tend to feature a clear foreground and background subject.

I therefore recommend that you select them in advance. The background subject should be several times larger than the foreground subject. Look at the examples above; see how the foreground element appears slightly larger (or equal in size) than the background element. This only happens when the foreground is small and the background is large!

The easiest method is to position a person (or a person’s hand) in the foreground and a (reasonably) tall building in the background. It’s a perfectly valid approach, and when you’re just starting out, it’s a great way to have some fun in forced perspective.

Over time, you’ll start to notice more and more photo opportunities, and you’ll be able to create more complex images that include unique foreground and background subjects.

2. Use a narrow aperture to keep the whole scene in focus

To create the most effective forced perspective illusion, you should round the viewer by making them believe that your foreground and background subjects exist on the same plane.

Which means your foreground and background subjects should both appear sharp. After all, two objects on the same plane should have identical levels of sharpness!

If you just point your camera and shoot, you’ll often end up with a sharp foreground subject and a blurry background subject (or vice versa). Instead, you have to switch your camera to its manual or aperture priority mode and then dial a narrow aperture (such as f/8, f/11 or beyond). I also encourage you to switch your lens to manual focus and then adjust the focus ring until you have about a third of the scene in focus.

The narrow aperture will ensure your shot has great depth of field, and by carefully focusing your lens you can keep the whole scene (foreground to background) in focus.

3. Position the foreground subject carefully

To maintain the illusion of forced perspective, you must ensure that the position of your foreground subject sells the shot.

Don’t just position the subject carelessly. Instead, be very careful about the effect you’re trying to create – and make sure the foreground subject is aligned Perfectly with the bottom. If your subject “touches” a building with an outstretched finger, the finger should be positioned just over the edge of the object. If your foreground subject is “holding” another person in their palm, the background subject’s shoes should line up with the top of the foreground subject’s hand.

Pro tip: If you’re having trouble positioning your subject, try leaving it and moving your camera around instead. And if you can’t sell the effect without perfect positioning, I encourage you to use a tripod; it will hold your camera in place while you adjust your settings as needed.

Examples of Forced Perspective Photography: Final Words

Now that you’ve finished this article, you know how to create great forced perspective shots yourself – and you’ve seen plenty of amazing examples!

So get out there with your camera and practice. Pay close attention to positioning, control your settings, and pick the perfect foreground and background subjects. Good luck!

Which of these forced perspective photos is your favorite? What are you planning to shoot? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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