Essence of Photography: Vanishing Point

How do you make a two-dimensional drawing or photo look three-dimensional? The secret is perspective, and by learning to use a "vanishing point", you can give that impression of depth to your images.

July 16, 2021

See that little person in the image above, right where the lines seem to converge at the horizon? That is known as the vanishing point.

It might seem obvious to our eyes, and to the camera that straight lines like those railroad tracks above will appear to come together as they get closer to the horizon. However, to an artist in the 15th century, this was a fancy new idea, thanks to an architect named Filippo Brunelleschi and his system of "Linear Perspective" which described this effect. His ideas were quickly adopted by some of the greatest Renaissance painters of the time including Leonardo da Vinci, who took these concepts of perspective even further.

In photography, it is easier to create a vanishing point effect than it is for someone drawing or painting on a canvas. Simply find a road, river, or even railroad tracks going off into the distance and snap a photo. If you use a wide angle lens, you can accentuate the effect.

These are some creative examples of vanishing point images to get you thinking about how you can use this in your own photos.




Essence of Photography is a series of tips, tutorials, and visual inspiration on a variety of photography skills and techniques.

You can practice these skills and more by purchasing a deck of Photo Cards from Zoom In Reach Out, a non-profit with a mission of teaching to see the world from a different perspective.

All photos in this article were posted to the Aminus3 Photography Community and are copyrighted by their respective photographers.

Click on any photo to see a larger version or to leave a comment for the photographer.

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TOPICS: essence of photography

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