Does perspective compression truly exist when using a telephoto lens?  If this is the case, when and how should you use it?

Perspective is all about the impression we have, when looking at a scene, of e distances between elements in the scene.2012-10-21-EX-0313

In the included picture, our impression is that distance between the church and Cohill’s inn is not that great.  Even the street leading to the church does not really narrow over that distance.  This is what perspective compression is all about.

On the same path, when using a wide-angle lens and getting low on the ground near a road heading in the distance, the road start very wide and is narrowing to the point where it reaches a single point in the distance.  This is perspective amplification.  This is the result of Wide Angle Lens and Viewpoint.

When you want to amplify the sense of depth and the distance between elements in the picture, use a wide-angle lens and position yourself to exaggerate the perspective.  At contrary when you want to make the distances disappear between the front of the scene and the background, use a telephoto lens and ensure you don’t have obstacle in the foreground, keeping only the middle ground and the background sharp.  This way you will compress the perspective and the elements in the picture will look near to each other.

Perspective Compression is an advance composition technique that is often leveraged:

Using a telephoto from a distance on a series of similar elements will amplify the impact of the repetition.

Perspective Amplification is also an advance composition technique used often in landscape.  A foreground interest positioned prominently in the lower part of the picture and middle ground and background are seen in the upper part of the picture exaggerating the sense of depth and distance.

Other consideration will play on distance between elements.  When all elements (middle ground to background) in the pictures are sharp, this further contributes to  reduced distance and vice-versa.