Learn How to Choose a Viewpoint when Photographing Landscapes with People

Learn How to Choose a Viewpoint when Photographing Landscapes with People
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People in Landscapes

Adding people into photographs of landscapes is a great way to enhance the beauty of the landscape image. You can use a person to show an activity that may occur at the site of the landscape or to show where the person lives. You’re also able to use a person to show the size of the landscape. If you use a person at a desolate landscape site, the person will emphasize the seclusion of the landscape. Adding a person to a landscape photo on overcast days is a great way to liven up what would normally be a dull image.

People in Landscapes

Choosing a Viewpoint

When choosing a viewpoint for photographing landscapes with people, pay special attention to the position of the sun. Often, the photographer’s shadow will creep into the photo unnoticed. If you choose to shoot in early morning or in the late afternoon, you’re likely to catch your shadow in the shot because shadows are elongated at those times during the day.

Often, you can take a great picture with people on holidays. Many people gather at beautiful landscape sites on holidays. If you choose to capture the event, it’s best to stand at the entrance to the event. Position yourself above the crowd by standing on a large rock or stool. Make sure the people don’t block the focal points or points of interest in the landscape. However, you can use this to your advantage as well. If there happens to be an unsightly object in the picture, you can use the people to block it out.

Showing Scale

“Waterfall” By Nicootie

Using People to Show Scale

Place people in photos of landscapes to show their size. If you take a picture of a large waterfall or mountain face, this is a great time to use a person for scale. It’s best to find a large tree in front of the image. Have the person stand by the side of the tree. Position the tree and person to side of the photo. Focus on the landscape for the image’s center. For the best shot, have the tree on the outer edge of the image, with the person on the side of the tree that’s closer to the center. You can also use rocks and other natural formations to help show the scale of the picture if you don’t want to use a tree.

Showing Isolation

There are many ways you can use a person to show isolation when photographing landscapes. Many people choose to show isolation on beaches. To produce this image, you’ll want to stand well above the scene. Have the person stand on the shore’s edge in the center of the image. You’ll want the landscape to also be in the center behind the person. If you stand a good distance away from what you are photographing, you can really capture the feeling of isolation.

Another way to capture isolation is to go outside of a city. Find a hill that overlooks the city. Place the person on the side on the image, with the focal point being the city. This will give the feeling of isolation from the city.


“People in Landscapes” Practical Photography by John Freeman

Photo 1: “Green Field” By Jprole April 29, 2009 stock.xchng

Photo 2: “Waterfall” By Nicootie August 29, 2007 stock.xchng