View Full Version : People in Lanscapes; Yes or No?

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Sirius Glass
12-02-2010, 06:43 PM
In my gadget bag alongside the wire filter is a people filter. Pop it on the lens and people will no longer be visible in the photo. :)

Will it automatically improve the composition? That is what I am looking for => a filter to improve the composition.

12-02-2010, 07:07 PM
Will it automatically improve the composition? That is what I am looking for => a filter to improve the composition.

I find that a BS Filter, reversed, can also improve composition.

Sirius Glass
12-02-2010, 07:13 PM
I find that a BS Filter, reversed, can also improve composition.

Ah, were can I buy the BS filter of which you speak??

Christopher Walrath
12-02-2010, 09:17 PM
Oh, actually, I have three.

12-05-2010, 03:48 PM
Kk, going back to the main topic!

I'm gonna go against the grain and say that I actually prefer having people in my landscapes and urbanscapes. I find it adds a different depth to the image if it was just the landscape.

When I do have them in, I kind of make it so they're a part of the scene but not the subject. Usually I don't shoot faces, which I think distracts viewers as people focus on faces. Part of my tactic is in keeping the person small relative to the image so that they're like a portion of the landscape shot.

Here's one of mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dugrant/4896540485/

12-06-2010, 08:38 PM
Yes, I was just discussing the use of people as scale cues with a pair of architects, and the way placement of people causes the viewer to imagine what they must feel like, in the scene, i.e. to personalize it.

Careful placement of people can do wonderful things. Of course, there are no firm rules.... effective landscape images may or may not have people in them.

I still stand by what I said earlier in the thread- I think it's a bit ridiculous the lengths to which some photographers will go, to try to obscure the evidence of humanity in the modern landscape. There are few out there courageous enough to incorporate all the power lines, the roads, the urban monotony... and all the other things we consider opposite the classical landscape.

Sirius Glass
12-06-2010, 08:47 PM
In Virginia it can be hard to keep evidence of humanity out of a photograph, however in the western states the can be easily accomplished.

12-06-2010, 08:48 PM
Photos made by case-by-case decision: YES, unless the photos would fail to meet some important conceptual goal unless made with pre-determined guidelines. Photos made by predetermined rules: NO, unless the rules are somehow part of your concept.

In other words, do what you want to do in order to do what you want to do with the picture/series.

IMO, good art photography is seldom only about making an attractive picture. That is mainly what commercial photography's goal is. Making an attractive picture should not be the goal of photographic art; making the attractive picture should be a tangible technique that can be used or misused to achieve an intangible artistic goal. So, make your pictures such that the way they look serves your purpose; do not just blindly make them look "good" based on some predetermined set of guidelines. I fail to see why so damned many people need to set up rules for themselves in their shooting/printing. Just shoot, and make it good...or not. My two cents. I am sure YMWV.

Domenico Foschi
12-12-2010, 04:45 AM
Very interesting. I am approaching to finish my project on Italian Landscapes and cityscapes that I last worked on 3 years ago and now it's time to bring to completion.
This time I will definitively be looking for the human component in both landscapes and cityscapes. It really is a personal choice for anybody. It depends what you want to tell. My new approach is to show the relationship that man has had with the land for thousands of years. Even though the land can live without man, Man cannot survive without the fruits of the land, and that is for me a wonderful subject for study. But that is only a part of the project, that you can see better explained at this link (http://kck.st/cai7P7).

05-09-2011, 11:48 AM
All except one of my landscape shots do not have people in them. The one that does would not work nearly as well without that person in it.

12-15-2011, 08:40 PM
99% of my shots have no people in them (this has been commented on several times at the processing lab). But as some folks have posted here, a single, subtle and unobtrusive person can sometimes completely transfom an image. There are even time an unsubtle person works in a landscape picture.


Poisson Du Jour
12-16-2011, 01:41 AM
Absolutely no. Not even footprints.

12-16-2011, 02:47 AM
I think this is actually a pretty deep question, philosophically. When you photograph a landscape, are you trying to produce an image of a "pristine" landscape, uncontaminated by the icky business of humanity?---or trying to show something about the interaction of people and places?---or telling a fundamentally human story in which the landscape is an important character? All answers are legitimate, but they lead to different photographic places.

Speaking for myself, I generally want door #2. As a human, I see landscapes in human terms, and that liminal space where being human collides with the landscape is pretty compelling to me. That doesn't necessarily mean "people in landscapes", but it does mean I'm usually more drawn to a landscape image that has something to say about the human interaction with it than to one that doesn't acknowledge people at all.


12-16-2011, 05:40 AM
I remember reading somewhere that they asked Sudek, why there are usually no people in his photos. He replied, he doesn't mind them being there, but they usually leave before he sets up his camera :)

12-16-2011, 09:02 AM
I go mostly without people in landscapes but there are times when they are important elements of the image and times when they can be considered part of the landscape. An example:


12-28-2011, 04:45 PM
Like NT said, I think it really depends on the intent of the image. I like to look at pictures of a pristine wilderness, but for my own work, I find myself more drawn to compositions with some sort of 'trace' of human presence. I find the idea of nature claiming back what man has tried to make his own very intriguing, and a bit haunting. In my personal work, I feel it makes for a more powerful image... but then, coming across a beautifully unspoilt landscape is always marvellous!

03-06-2012, 07:53 PM
as said, depending on what you want to convey. i like people in landscapes if they enjoy it but it really has to fit the picture.
but in general a human aspect makes it feel more reachable, more real, gives it a relation.. (not talking about tourists standing in front of a beautiful natural sight..)

John Austin
03-06-2012, 07:57 PM
I don't allow people in my landscapes, and have been very abusive to friends and strangers who walk in my landscapes - Yes, if I am looking at a landscape I do own it!!!

Where people are photographed in my land they are naked, the prime subject and I am very pleasant to them so they will work with me again

Dr. no
04-16-2012, 04:38 PM
Generally, "no people" or I wouldn't call it a landscape; but specifically, "it depends". I have the fortune, and the fortitude, to get to shoot mostly in the west where it is usually not too difficult to find vast panoramas that seem untouched by man.
Overall, I would just say that it can be a great composition, but becomes something besides a landscape with people as a significant compositional element.

04-16-2012, 05:29 PM
Trying to make rigid definitions is best left to camera clubs and the PSA. Don't want "yer hand o man" in your nature pictures, you'll be disqualified and won't get your ribbon...