The canonical perspective

Say again? Yes folks, I also had the same quizzical expression when I first found out about this “canonical perspective.” This is from a certain Jenika, a magna cum laude graduate of psychology from Yale, who runs her own portrait photography business and a blog called Psychology for Photographers. In her blog article titled Have a Photo Problem? Try Canonical Perspective, she explains that this perspective is “to the side and slightly above” view.


She points out the following:

  • We tend to recognize all sorts of objects better when they are presented to us in canonical perspective.
  • It helps make pleasing images because it goes along with how we “like” to think about objects.
  • Most of us probably photograph objects using the canonical perspective “rule,” whether we’re explicitly aware of it as a rule or not.
  • Canonical perspective neatly lines up with how the human mind likes to picture things.

Head over to the article and read in full this enlightening topic. Discovering something like this adds up to our arsenal of techniques when taking pictures. As Jenika said we may have been using the canonical perspective without us knowing it. Reviewing my image archive I found that I had lots of pictures with subjects taken “to the side and above 30-45 degrees.” Now we know what to call this kind of view.


10 responses

  1. ‘To the side’ is relative to the photographer – to the viewer the subject tends to be straight on (unless you’re talking about composition of a frame which is something different)

    May 9, 2013 at 8:54 am

    • Junsjazz

      “To the side and slightly above” were the words of the article author simply to describe the view. I invite you if you have time to read her article for her full description. We may not all subscribe to her explanations yet I’m glad I found a term for a view that I’ve done many times in my shots which previously I didn’t know what to call. Thanks!

      May 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      • I will indeed add it to ‘the list’ – with your help and that of other successful bloggers I am increasing my list of things to read – finding the time to read them is the problem. I’m planning to buy myself a small tablet in the next few months – so I can start to read stuff away from my desktop – if I’m at my desktop I invariably get onto something practical.

        May 10, 2013 at 9:37 am

  2. Thank you for sharing. Her blog is great!

    May 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    • Junsjazz

      Thanks Jennifer!

      May 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm

  3. interesting…I read her article, makes sense once you read through and observe the examples she show.

    May 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    • Junsjazz

      Glad you got some interesting info there Heather. Thanks!

      May 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  4. Thanks this was so cool. You can feel the “rightness” of the canonical perspective.

    May 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    • Junsjazz

      You’re welcome Walter! We all learned something with this article.

      May 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

  5. Interesting and useful to know.

    May 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s