People in Nature Photography

People in Nature Photography

Do you tend to avoid including people in your nature and landscape photography? In this short video, Julie gives two good reasons to change your practice, and include people in your nature and landscape shots. Watch below to find out what they are.

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Video Transcript

Hello! I’m Julie from Ultimate Photo Tips, back with another Two Minute Tip. I want to talk to you about including people in your photographs. I’m not talking about photos where your subject is a person, or a group of people. Instead, I want to encourage you to include people in photos of landscapes or nature.

For a long time, I was one of those photographers who waited until all the tourists cleared out of a spot before taking my picture. I wanted the scene to appear pristine and untouched. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that approach, but I want you to consider telling a different story.

Let me give you a couple of reasons why I’ve started including people in nature photography. First, having a person in the scene can add a sense of scale. Everyone knows immediately how big a person is, so if there’s a person in the image, we quickly assess the relative size of the other elements. If you’re in the forest photographing the giant sequoia tree, it doesn’t mean much until you put a person beside it.

Second, and probably even more significant, is that people in nature photography add that human interest factor. If there’s a person in the scene, then the viewer can easily substitute themselves, and imagine being there. It gives the photo a sense of immediacy. If you’re submitting photos to magazines, they love the inclusion of people because their readers can relate better to the image.

If you are going to include people in images that you intend to sell, of course you need to make sure you get the appropriate model releases. You also want to include the right people in the photo. Any old tourist may not be the best choice. You want someone well-groomed, and dressed appropriately for the scene. Your best — and most cooperative! — subject might just be yourself, so consider using a timer delay when you shoot, and including yourself in your photo.

Let me close with a couple of examples so you can decide whether you prefer the one with or without me in the frame.

Here’s the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, Canada at sunrise:

Hopewell Rocks
Hopewell Rocks, NB, Canada, with no one in the scene
© Julie Waterhouse Photography

And here they are again with me in the scene. Do you react any differently to this photo?

people in nature photography
Hopewell Rocks, NB, Canada, including myself in the scene
© Julie Waterhouse Photography

So get out there, and try a few photos with people in nature photography, and see if you like the difference it makes. For more photo tips, come on over to, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

Happy shooting, and I’ll see you next time!

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