Adding People for Scale in Landscape Photography

I've seen photographers wait endlessly for a scene to clear of all people so they could finally press the shutter button. And in some locations, I do the same thing.

But there are times when a well-placed person adds scale to better convey the grandness of the location. The viewer can truly admire how big and wonderful the place is.


In my landscapes, the viewer might not even notice the person at first, especially if they're scrolling through pictures on Instagram. But for those who spend a few seconds more, it's a lovely little Easter egg that they can find tucked away among the rocks and bushes.

I'm especially delighted when I spot a hiker in a bright yellow or red shirt. The added dash of color looks good in the overall scene. And of course, who doesn't like a red jacket out among snow covered trees?

My point is, yes, sometimes tourists do muck up our compositions. But for those times that they can add a little something to the image, place them carefully, and notice how they help you better tell the story.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.