Photo Tip Friday: Using Perspective in Photography to Create Better Photos

by Mary Denman   @MaryDenman

Brookgreen Gardens
Today's tip is about using perspective when taking photos.

I'm going to use one subject that I walked around to show you how much difference perspective can make. In this case, I took all the shots at the same eye level, but the entire way around the subject.

We were able to visit Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. These are some of the many amazing pieces of artwork on the property and my example for today. This statue of Dionysis is covered in gold. Yes, real gold.

I was able to get shots from so many directions. I also photographed the statue at slightly different times of day, over two days while visiting the gardens to try and get the best shots I could. 

I hope these photos get you thinking about how to actively look for new and different perspectives.

Let's get started.

Problems I encountered.
I'm including this first shot to show you the context of where Dionysus by Edward McCaartan is located. There were definitely some challenging issues.

The statue is in an open area, elevated on a pedestal. Notice the high, round shrubs though? They surround the statue, but at a distance.

There are usually other people in the gardens at the same time so you have to deal with that when trying to take pictures.

Because of the operating hours of Brookgreen, the sun was high in the sky and you can see the challenges of the lighting. The way the light falls on the trees behind the statue created a cluttered background and the light threatened to wash out Dionysus due to the shiny gold covering.

How did I deal with the challenges? By changing perspective.

Collage of Dionysus from various angles, taken over two days.
Tip 1: Zoom in on your subject.
To start dealing with some of the problems, I zoomed in on Dionysus. This removed any people from the shots and helped simplify the background so I could focus on the amazing art.

TIP 2: Walk around your subject if it's stationary! 
In the collage of photos, you can also see how walking around the artwork showcases Dionysus in different ways. The background changes because of the various species of trees planted in the distant. You see the movement of the cat. One shot, especially straight on, couldn't capture all the nuances of this great art.

Too, you can see the difference in lighting and how that affects the colors. Because I took these shots over 2 days, one clear and one overcast, you can see how the colors change. The time of day and the length of the sun's rays can also have an effect on the colors in your photos. And, where the light hits the statue also changes the feel of the photos. 

Clear versus overcast skies.
But not just content with trees for a background, I looked for other ways to showcase the art. This led me to catching a little piece of sky for the backdrop. 

TIP 3: Shoot the subject under various lighting conditions. 
These 2 shots show the amazing effect of lighting. Clear skies and direct sunlight versus overcast skies and diffused lighting. 

And, you can even see the subtle difference in how I framed the shot on the two days. 

Photography may involve a lot of science including aperture, shutter speed, rules of thirds, color values, etc, but it also involves a lot a creativity! That's what I love. It's so multi-faceted!

Dionysus from a distance.
Wanting to capture the feel of the gardens and the placement of the statue, I once again looked for more ways to photograph Dionysus. 

TIP 4: Frame the photo in different ways.
This time, I took an overall view, and incorporated what could have been a problem into the shot. 

I made sure no one was in the picture when I snapped it. Blurring the shrubs in the foreground helped frame this shot and gave it great depth and perspective.

What's amazing at Brookgreen is that every part of the acres and acres of land was planned to showcase the American artists' works. 

Look at this view! I placed Dionysus on the left side of the frame and made sure to get the Alligator Bender by Nathaniel Choate in the shot. And just to the right of that sculpture is one more, further in the distance.

TIP 5: Work for your shots!
This picture required me standing on my toes, getting the camera over the hedge and lining up the three statues! All the while, making sure no one was going to walk into the shot because there's a path past those red plants! 

I may have looked funny, teetering on tip toes, but this shot was worth it!  

There is so much you can do if you're willing to move around a little and try different shots! 

This week only scratches the surface on using perspective in photography. I'll do another post soon on other types of changes in perspective and how they can dramatically improve your photography skills!

NEW: I'm adding a new section to my Friday Tips. Each week, I'll give you a challenge based on the day's tips. The most effective way to learn something new is to put it to use. So, I'll give you a couple of options or examples to carry out the tips. I'm thinking about maybe even doing an Instagram challenge along with it for those of you on Instagram. I really do want to see how you implement the ideas. Would you be interested in an Instagram challenge to show me your best shots? Let me know in the comments!

YOUR CHALLENGE for this week: While you may not have a gold statue to photograph, you can find an object around your yard, at work or in a park that is stationary. Take your camera and walk the entire way around it, taking pictures. 
Using your car as an example, take pictures of each side. At the corners. Pay attention to what's BEHIND the car, meaning the background. How can you take a picture and minimize clutter? 
Pay attention to the lighting on all the sides. It will vary greatly. See how that adds to or takes away from the photos. 
If you can, do this exercise on 2 different days at different times of day and compare. You might just learn a thing or two! 

BLOGGERS: Keep honing your skills and populate your blog with great photos! 

CELL PHONE USERS: You can do this challenge as well! Pick and object and walk around it. You'll get better control of your camera by doing this! 

Hope these tips help!
Keep on clicking.




  1. Great suggestions, Mary. I'm so often in a hurry to get the shot and get going that I don't take the time to look at perspective.

    1. I'm glad you'll think about it now Linda Kay! :)

  2. Wonderful tips. I learn something new with each post you write.

    1. Thanks Barbara! I'm glad the tips are helping!

  3. Great tips Mary, lovely pictures :)

    Thanks fpr sharing at the weekend blog hop..

    1. You're welcome Claire! I hope you have a great week!