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People in pictures

Created date

March 1st, 2016

People in pictures can make an ordinary photo into a more meaningful one, particularly in landscape and event photography. Adding people can connect the viewer to a scene and give the photo more interest and appeal.

They do not need to be the main focus of a photo. They need not even be identifiable. A small, anonymous figure in a travel photo, for example, can help tell a visual story. How better to illustrate conflict or to make a social statement. We seem to better connect with a photograph that includes a person or a group of people, even in a photo of a tragic event.

Adding visual context 

Try to include people in some of your photography. A figure or small group captured in a landscape can give scale to a scene. Their presence emphasizes the size of the canyon, lighthouse, or waterfall. In another context, they might convey loneliness, abandonment or scope. Ask a friend to be part of your scene. I’ve even asked strangers if they would not mind being an anonymous figure in my photo. I usually send them a copy, too.

Try taking a scenic photo, then for comparison, take another of the same scene that includes a person or two. You’ll find that pictures with people will be more memorable and more meaningful and certainly more interesting.

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