Creating Forced Perspective in your Photos

A quick explanation of Forced Perspective and how you can set it up in your photos


This post is all about one of the classic tricks you can use in toy photography - forced perspective.

This involves using toys or objects of different sizes to give the illusion of a great distance (or scale) between them.

Here's an example of shot I took that uses forced perspective. It's a riff on the pivotal scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Luke is trapped in the Wampa cave, and struggles with his mastery of the force in order to retrieve his saber and free himself before meeting a grizzly end.

Can you work out where I'm using forced perspective?

In this shot, the lightsaber is much bigger than it seems, it's almost inline with Luke's hand, blurred due to the wide aperture I took the shot with.

Here's a behind the scenes pic that shows what this setup really looks like:

The key to making successful perspective trick shots is a wide aperture - the shallow depth of field blurs everything behind / in front of your focal point, tricking the mind into believing things are nearer or further away than they really are.

Here's another more subtle shot using the same technique:

Here the Rey fig is the 6 inch version from Hasbro's Black Series, and her speeder bike is the smaller one from the 3.75 inch line.

Another trick you can try is similar to the one Peter Jackson used in the Lord of the Rings, where a two part dinner table allowed Elijah Wood (Frodo) to be filmed at a further distance from Ian McKellan (Gandalf), giving the illusion Gandalf is much bigger than Frodo.

I'd recommend focus stacking for this type of shot, which would let you match up the in-focus parts of your shot and let Photoshop blend them together seemlessly.


Forced Perspective isn't really difficult to pull off - the hard part is having an idea to shoot!


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A quick explanation of Forced Perspective and how you can set it up in your photos