If you’re like me and you love to look at beautiful photographs, undoubtedly you are using apps such as Instagram, Flickr or 500px to view amazing images from around the world. Lately you will find the newest craze with respect to landscape photography is to add one or two people into the scene. Most of the time the person is a relatively small part of the scene and is typically in silhouette.
So why do photographers do this? For 3 main reasons.
1) To tell a story
By adding a person to the scene you are shooting will bring interest to your shot and get people to look around your photograph more. They will start to ask who, what, where and why about your shot, especially if your model is interacting within the shot and has a unique presence. Try to add people to your shot only if it makes sense and it brings interest to your shot. Of course some landscape shots are amazing all on their own and won’t need anyone to make your shot spectacular.
2) To add impact
Adding a person in your shot can add more drama or impact to your shot especially against a backdrop such as a spectacular sunset or a fog filled country road that has a silhouette of a person walking in the distance. Here is a tip for you.. if you are adding a person to your shot and they are going to be a relatively small element in relation to your overall scene, make sure they are over emphasizing any position or movement they are making with their body. Make them stretch their hands and arms right out away from their body and have them open up their stance right up. This way the there will be a lot of positive space all around them giving their silhouette more impact inside your shot.
3) To add scale and perspective
Sometimes with landscape photography, if you don’t add a person to it, your viewers may not fully appreciate or recognize the scale of the elements in your shot. By including a person, your viewers will appreciate and more importantly understand the magnitude of the landscape you were experiencing when you took the shot.
When you are a photographer travelling alone, one of the struggles you come upon is finding people to stand in your shot to give it depth, perspective, scale and impact.
You can always put your camera on a tripod, set your timer on and jump into the shot yourself. Many photographers do this, and I have been known do this time to time. But you may not be dressed appropriately that day or simply not in the mood.
This particular photograph was taken in Iceland and is called Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful waterfalls to photograph in the world. So you can imagine how excited I was to visit this waterfall and although I did go to this site with a friend, when it came time to find someone stand in this shot, my friend was over on the opposite side of the waterfall. I would have stood in myself, only my camera was on very uneven ground, plus there were lots of people walking very close to my camera at the time. I really didn’t want to risk leaving my camera alone.
There were people all over the place, and just by chance, one man stood right in front of my shot with his cell taking the same shot I was taking.. when he turned to realized he was in my shot, I told him he in fact was enhancing my shot and then enthusiastically asked if he would take a few more shots with his cell. He was more than willing and I took the amazing opportunity to tell a story of someone experiencing this amazing wonder of our world. He added impact to my shot.. and it hopefully it gives you, my viewer an idea of the scale and magnitude of this amazing waterfall. If you haven’t already, I hope you can visit it one day.
To find someone to stand in your shot, you really have to just throw away any shyness you may have and just ask!
Social media is so common these days, most people, especially the younger “social media savvy” generation are more than happy to strike a pose for your shot. And if they say no, It’s ok, not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera or having their image on social media. Maybe they’re playing hooky and don’t want their face on Facebook! ♥