Photo Tip: Using Perspective to Create Humor

This month's photo challenge theme Laughable Photographable has brought in a lot of funny pictures.

Several of them, I noticed, have one thing in common.  And that one thing is actually the element that makes the photograph funny.

It's the photographer's unusual perspective.

What I mean by "perspective" is the photographer's vantage point… or where he/she is standing in relation to the subject.

I've written about perspective before.

But let's take a look at a few examples from this month's photo challenge and see how the photographer's perspective made the image funny…

Laughable Photographable

Is that baby goat really riding on its momma's back?

From this angle, it looks like he could be.  But, of course, he's not.  It's the perspective and the way the subjects line up together that make you wonder what's really going on here.

Here's another one…

It looks like this camel is about to chew the other camel's tail.  Obviously, it's not -- the other camel is several feet away -- but with this composition and the perspective, it has that appearance.

This is an important concept to grasp because, in some cases, it can add to the humor of your photo.  And in others, it can be distracting.

You, then, need to be on constant watch for the placement of objects in the background in relationship to your subject.

This shot is not exactly the same as the others, but it still works with perspective:

The photographer had to be in the exact right place to get the right angle here. Too much to the left or the right and it would have been a missed opportunity.

And finally …

I wanted to point this shot out for one very simple reason… the grass in the corner.

Now normally, I'd say the shot would be better with a little more grass or none at all.  But in this case, that little bit of grass, especially combined with the wires overhead (which the photographer could not have avoided) adds perspective to this shot.

It gives it place, scale and size.  We know, for instance, that it's the side of a building, not a billboard, and that it is a large sign.

Here are two more examples of funny perspective stock shots:

This first one is by Lise Gagne… notice how the megaphone looks so big compared to his tiny shoes?

And here's another one:

Perspective is what gives this horse such a big nose and funny expression.

Every shot is different, and variables are constantly changing… perspective is one more thing to toss into your little bag of tricks.

You have till Monday to make us laugh.  That's when this month's photo challenge theme ends.  So go out and get silly this weekend.


This month's photo challenge theme is Laughable Photographable.  If you have a picture to submit, log on to our website and click on the Enter to Win tab.  (Note: First-time users need to register on the "register" link on the right sidebar first. Once you have a username and password, click "Enter to Win" to upload your photo. Only one photo per applicant will be considered. No purchase necessary to register.)

Photos are due by 8:00 a.m. EST, Monday, June 30, 2008.

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