Sweeping vistas, beautiful mountains, the endless expanse of the sea…

Landscape photography can be exciting and truly rewarding, but every so often you may find that you need some additional elements to take your images up to a notch!

People, believe it or not, can be the perfect addition to your landscape photographs. It may seem counterintuitive; after all, we’re usually trying to get people out of our landscapes, but in some cases, incorporating people into your landscape images can help to enhance your photos.

Adding people to your images can add depth and meaning to your images; it can help to tell a story, add interest and intrigue, and in some cases, can even introduce a focal point to a composition that’s otherwise lacking. Sometimes, it could be just the touch that your image needs to take it from ordinary to great.

If you are looking for some creative ways to incorporate people into your landscape shots, here’s a look at a few things you’ll want to consider.

Why Add People?

Wondering why you should consider adding people to your landscape photo? While it isn’t a hard and fast rule, sometimes adding a person can help to enhance your photo and boost the detail and interest. Here are a few reasons you might consider adding a person to your landscape shots.

Adding People to Your Landscape Images

photo by: Cassie Matias

• Tell a Story
First, adding a person to the composition can help tell a story in a way that no other subject can! People can add a sense of interest to your images; catching our eye and making us want to know more. They can also add a touch of mystery or adventure to your photos; or help to convey certain feelings and emotions; helping the viewer to feel as though they were there themselves!

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• Add a Sense of Scale
Sometimes when shooting landscapes, it can be difficult to convey the true size of something spectacular. But by adding a person into your shot, you can help show just how monumental the scene you’re capturing is. A person in the distance can help to indicate the vastness of a scene, while someone standing next to a mountain, boulder, or waterfall can also help to add a sense of perspective to your shot.

Adding People to Your Landscape Images

photo by: Jamison McAndie

• Incorporate Some Drama
Adding a person into your landscapes can also be a fun way to add a touch of drama to your images. A silhouette of a couple holding hands at sunset, for example, some surfers out at sea, or hikers resting at a lookout point can add an extra bit of life and drama to what would otherwise be an ordinary shot.

Adding People to Your Landscape Images

photo by: Cassie Matias

• Add Some Color
Finally, one more reason to add people to your landscapes is for a splash of color. In otherwise drab or dull looking images, sometimes the right person, with the right colored clothing, can add some eye-catching detail to your shot. Just ensure that the color adds to your photo and doesn’t dominate or take away from your original composition.

Adding People to Your Shot

So how then, do you add people to your shot to help enhance your landscape image? Here are a few ways to incorporate people into your landscape photos effectively.

• Consider the Composition
When adding people to your image, it’s important to consider the overall composition; and ask yourself whether people will enhance it. In some cases, the answer will be yes! The image will benefit tremendously from the introduction of a human element. Other times, though, it may be better to keep it as a pure landscape –without any people.

Adding People to Your Landscape Images

photo by: pxhere.com / CC0

• Identify Your Focal Point
When incorporating people you’ll also want to consider where your focal point will be. Remember; you don’t want to incorporate a person into your image if it will detract from your scene; only if it will enhance it. You can consider making the person the main focal point, or, if there’s something more exciting in the distance, just adding them as a supporting element.

Adding People to Your Landscape Images

photo by: SplitShire / CC0

• Use Props
Blur the lines between landscape and portraiture! If you’re going to feature your subjects in the foreground of your images, you may want to consider bringing along some fun props. A colorful umbrella, a guitar, or even a chair can help you to set the stage to capture your subjects in the wild.

• Create a Silhouette
People can make excellent subjects for silhouettes! Because they have an easily recognizable outline, they’re ideal for creating silhouette photography. To capture silhouettes, you’ll want to position your subjects in front of the sun so they’re backlit –sunrise or sunset is especially ideal time of day. Then, use spot metering to meter on a bright part of the composition. Them, use a faster shutter speed for a darker exposure.

• Create an Illusion
Finally, adding people to your landscape photograph doesn’t have to be all serious. If the moment allows, consider having some fun with your shot. Angling your camera so that your subject appears to be ‘holding’ a boulder –or the setting sun can result in images that are fun to capture –and see!

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Adding people to your landscape photographs can result in some fun and lighthearted images, or conversely, can add a serious and dramatic element to your shots. It’s all about how you position them, and the overall effect of the composition.

When capturing landscapes, continually look out for ways to enhance your landscapes, and keep in mind that sometimes, a human touch might be all that’s required to take your image up a notch!

Do you enjoy incorporating people into your landscapes?

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