The world we live in is three-dimensional whereas photographs are two-dimensional representations of that world.
In the real world we can judge distance and size easily using our eyes helped by our experience. However in a photograph it is a different matter altogether. We can judge the size of anything in a photograph only when we compare between the subject matter and its surroundings. It is photographer’s challenge to create a sense of scale and depth in a photograph by how we compose our picture in the viewfinder.
What I would like to touch on this time is a sense of scale.
A sense of scale is one of the important compositional aids that a photographer should consider whenever composing a picture. A sense of scale makes a picture more interesting, meaningful and it can also tell a story at times.
Scale, in a picture, can be shown by including people or something familiar e.g. a car, a house etc.
Do study the pictures below and I believe you would understand more what a sense of scale is all about. After all “a picture is worth a thousand words.” 🙂
The inclusion of human elements in the landscape photo above enables me to show how vast relatively the tea plantation is when compared to the size of human beings.
The inclusion of a single human element is just to give a sense of scale to the picture and to show how huge relatively is the hot air balloon.
In order to emphasize that the waterfall is actually high there is no better way than to include a human figure in the picture.
I purposely included a human figure walking past the billboard because the billboard looks realistic and a human figure is included to divert the viewer’s eyes and to make them realise that what they are seeing is a billboard not a real situation.
Without a worker doing the cleaning on the billboard we wouldnt know how big is actually the billboard.
I hope you will benefit from this composition tip from me.
Please check out the previous composition tips.
- Composition guide #5: Rule of thirds
- Composition guide #4: Fully symmetrical composition
- Composition guide #3: Framing
- Composition guide #2: Reflections
- Composition guide #1: Figure and ground flips