People Power - tyneholm
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People Power

Assignment L08

More often than not, landscape photographs are devoid of people, presenting an image of the outdoors as an untouched wilderness. While such landscapes do exist, the majority of the locations we visit are actually quite busy. So we often wait for long periods for people to leave the view, or alternatively we clone them out of the shot in post-processing.

However, there are actually some good reasons to include people in landscape photographs. They can provide a sense of scale – the true size of mountains or trees can be difficult to judge when seen in isolation.

People can also balance a composition by providing a focal point in an image or if they are facing the right way, can direct attention to the focal point.

Finally, people can bring a landscape to life and help tells story – a lone hiker walking up a track, for example, can suggest mystery and adventure.

View the images


  • If your subject is moving make sure you use a fast enough shutter to prevent motion blur. This may mean raising the ISO setting.
  • When waiting for someone to walk into the frame, keep both eyes open so you can anticipate the moment and be ready.
  • Consider shooting handheld (see L19) for greater flexibility and the ability to react quickly to what may happen in front of the camera.

Field Notes

  • Timing is important when including people in your landscapes – you want them in the right part of the frame, looking the right way, and perhaps even at a specific object.
  • They may be moving, especially if they are running or cycling and the ideal moment might only last for a fraction of a second. so try to predict where they are going and know where in the frame you’d ideally like them and when they are likely to arrive there.
  • Have your composition framed, with focus, filtration and exposure all set, and be ready to fire the shutter.