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Nikon skills

Ingenious recipes for stunning shots

Project one camera techniques

the mission

■ Discover how you can alter your shots by where you stand

Take charge of perspective

time needed

■ 30 minutes

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

Kit needed

■ Nikon D-SLR ■ Kit lens ■ Super wide-angle zoom ■ telephoto lens

Chris Rutter shows how you can use different viewpoints to dramatically change the perspective of your images It’s often said that lenses change the perspective of your shots, with wide-angle lenses exaggerating perspective and telephoto lenses compressing it. That’s not actually the case. While it’s true that you need to change the focal length of your lens to achieve different types of images, the lens doesn’t actually affect the perspective of your images. All the lens does is determine how much, or

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little, of the subject you include in your image. To change the perspective you need to change the position from where you actually take your shot, moving to one side or another, shooting from higher up or lower down, or by moving further away. The confusion lies in that once you have chosen the point to view the subject from, you then need to use different focal length lenses in order to fit all the elements in the scene

All the lens does is determine how much, or how little, of the subject you include in your image. If you want to change the perspective you need to change your position

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that you wish to include into your shot. So, if you are close to the foreground subject you need to use a wide-angle lens to get everything into your shot, while if you are shooting from a distance you need to use a longer focal length so you can fill the frame with the subject. When you’re shooting landscapes, moving towards or away from your subjects can make a radical difference to the sort of shot you’re able to take. Changing your distance from your subjects also means you need to choose different lenses in order to fit everything into the frame. Let’s see how it works…

KEY SKILL Understanding focal lengths

Prove to yourself that lens focal lengths don’t affect the perspective To prove that it’s the viewpoint that affects perspective, you can do a simple exercise to show what effect the focal length of the lens has on your images. You can get the basic effect using the shortest and longest focal lengths on a standard zoom lens, but you can also use two different lenses to give a more extreme change in the focal length.

24mm lens

Take two shots

First, take one photo using a wide-angle lens and another with a telephoto lens from the same position. Ideally you should put the camera on a tripod to make sure that they are exactly the same position, but you can shoot hand-held if you are careful to make sure that the viewpoint is the same for both shots.


August 2014

100mm LENS

24mm lens cropped

Crop and compare

Open both images on your computer, and simply crop the wide-angle image so that it matches the framing of the one taken with the telephoto lens. Resize these images so that they are the same size on-screen, and you will find that the perspective in both photographs is the same – it’s just the amount of the scene included in the image that is different.

To watch the video use this web link…