Video: Including people in your landscape photos improve the sense of scale and overall composition


posted Friday, June 3, 2022 at 3:30 PM EDT


You may think of landscape photos as including only the natural landscape. However, as wilderness photographer Dave Morrow shows in the video below, including people in your landscape photos can really improve them by providing a sense of scale in a scene.

Below, we join Morrow in a redwood forest in California. The trees are enormous, but it's difficult to see just how giant they are in a photo without a reference point. Your viewer isn't there with you when you capture a photo, so it's important to consider how it will look to someone who maybe has never seen redwood trees, or specific mountains or cliffs, whatever it may be.

To get the most out of including a person in your scene – and it can be you, of course – there are some important considerations. Morrow suggests putting a person on the other side of the frame as your primary subject. He also thinks it's important to keep a person's head below the horizon line to ensure that your image shows good depth. At a basic level, you can use people to create a sense of scale, and depth and help balance your composition.

If you opt to use yourself as the person in the landscape photo, you'll need a tripod, of course, and you'll want to have your camera set to self-timer mode. Morrow plans where he wants to be ahead of time to dial in the focus point. In this case, he will be hiking through the scene, and he has his Nikon mirrorless camera set up to take multiple shots. Since he'll be moving, he has a high ISO and a relatively fast shutter speed (1/125s) to avoid any issues with motion blur. You can also plan for being stationary in the frame, which will increase your options with camera settings but will limit you to only a few different looks.

If you enjoyed the video above, you can see more from Dave Morrow on YouTube. To see more of his photos and to download many free photography guides and tutorials, visit Morrow's website.

(Via Dave Morrow