Fisheye Perspective: A cool & trending photography effect

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One of the coolest (according to me) and again trending photography effects is the fisheye perspective (fisheye lens). Here’s a definition of it, examples, and tips on how you can take your own fisheye perspective photography!

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What is the fisheye perspective?

A fisheye perspective gives a hemispherical warped image. In post-processing, a fisheye perspective effect simulates the look of a fisheye lens, which is an ultra-wide-angle lens that captures a lot of width in a smaller point of view. Imagine for example looking at a warped security mirror.

It’s not a new technique (invented in the early 1920s), but it has once again gained a lot of popularity during recent years. Especially amongst trendy youths in Asia, street photographers, and people who capture action shots (e.g. skating, snowboarding, parkour). You actually don’t even need an expensive fisheye lens on a camera to get this effect. You can just apply post-processing effects, take pictures of warped reflective surfaces, or buy a cheap add-on to your phone.

Photography examples

Here are some examples of photographs with the fisheye perspective.

Screenshot from Vox video

In addition, this effect can be achieved through a wide range of techniques and surfaces. Here’s a couple of my photographs that try to capture this effect, but without using an actual fisheye lens or post-processing effect.

The reason why I love this effect so much is that it’s fun! It can take any boring selfie or groupie and instead turn it into something more intriguing, unusual, and playful. It forces the person who views the photograph to take an extra second to understand what’s going on and what they’re looking at.

In addition, I personally don’t like to post “serious” selfies anymore, but sometimes you still want to document yourself right? If you feel the same, then try out taking selfies with this perspective. It removes the attention from your looks and instead makes it about the context and environment. So much more fun! It also looks pretty candid, in the moment, and more natural.

The effect can of course also be used on any type of image, and not just selfies. I think it looks cool as a “looking glass” effect as well when there’s a central focus point in the middle of the view (e.g. an animal or cool architecture).

How to get the fisheye perspective

You can get capture the fisheye perspective in many ways. Here are some of my favorite ways:

  • Take a picture of a reflection on a reflective rounded surface, such as
    • ATM security mirror
    • Grocery store security mirror
    • Spoon reflection
    • Through a glass
    • The round knob of a basin
  • Apply a filter or effect on your photograph during post-processing
    • There are many free fisheye perspective effects you can use in social media apps such as Instagram, and of course also in other image-edition softwares
  • Use an actual fisheye lens on your camera

Some other fun things you can do with it :

  • If you’re a group of friends, try standing in a circle, and take the picture from the ground up
  • Add a text, icon, emoji, or other symbol at the center of the image
  • Sneak in a fun detail on the edge of the image (an object, a hand, and etc)
  • Warp text around the image (so that the text follows the rounded edge)
  • Play with X and Y skew (skew makes the photograph “angle” more or less from different perspectives)
  • Add focus and blur on a section of the image

Fisheye perspective in Music (Album covers)

Fun fact: The fisheye perspective has been very popular in pop culture and modern music album covers. Here’s a video by Vox about it, that also explains how the fisheye lens came into existence and why it’s been so popular in music.

Hope this was helpful, and thanks for reading!

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