As the world begins to step outside again after lockdown, those empty streets will begin to fill with crowds. When it comes to photography, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Whilst sometimes it can be annoying, as a whole, adding people to your photos can improve them if done right. So here are 6 reasons why you should include people in your photos.


Gives your photos context

One of the best reasons why you should include people in your photos is that it gives it context. By adding people into your composition, it allows the viewer to translate what message you are trying to get across easier. For example, a landscape shot with a couple walking sends a different message than one with a mountain biker. So try to think about the message you are trying to get across and compose your shot with people in it.


For a sense of scale

Have you ever looked at a scene and felt that no matter how hard you try you just can’t get that sense of scale across? The reason for that is that as advance as modern-day cameras are, they do still capture photos in 2D whereas our eyes see in 3D. So to get that sense of scale across to the viewer you need to try and help them. One of the best ways to do this is by including a person in your photo. Our brains can then make the connection between a person and the object or scene that we are viewing.


To add a point of interest

Another great benefit of adding people to your photos is for a point of interest. This is especially useful if you are photographing a scene with lots of dead space in the foreground. By including a person in this space it helps to add a point of interest to the photo and help the viewer navigate around the rest of the image. But try to really think about where you are placing them. Use composition rules such as the “rule of thirds” to position your person in the photo.


To add a sense of movement

If you want to add some dynamism into your photos, slow your shutter speed down to capture people walking, running, dancing or any other sort of movement. The blurriness of the people or person will add a sense of movement to your image. But the key here is that the rest of your image needs to be sharp for that contrast. If the rest of your image isn’t sharp, the whole image will just look like a blurred photo. The best way to do this is by using a tripod.


To make your photos unique

One of the most difficult things to achieve as a photographer these days is to capture photos that are different from what already exists out there. Most places and even scenarios have been photographed thousands if not millions of times. So capturing a unique photo can be tough. If you include people in your photos, you immediately have an opportunity to create something different. You won’t always succeed, but when you do, your photos will look much better for it.


Because that’s real life

One of the things that were so noticeable during the coronavirus lockdown was how unreal everywhere looked. As photographers, we were all hearing for a time when everywhere would be quiet and free of people. But it just didn’t look real. Because that is what places like cities are all about. So include people in your photos because, well, that’s just real life. That’s how the places are supposed to look.


Photographing food can be very challenging and is often not done very well. Capturing great food photographs takes some planning. But also a lot of creativity to compose and set up the scene as well as the technical skill required to execute it. But if done well food photographs can look vibrant and stir a real emotion of wanting to visit somewhere. Follow the steps above for photographing food and it’ll help you on your way.

Why not join us on one of our workshops or photography holidays to receive more tips and improve your photography in a fun and relaxed environment.

Kav Dadfar is a travel photographer and author of over 400 articles on photography. He has years of experience shooting assignments with his images having been used by some of the biggest brands in the world.

This article on how to include people in your photos is subject to copyright. Words and photos by Kav Dadfar (That Wild Idea). Copying or reposting of photos or article elsewhere is strictly forbidden. Please contact us if you would like to use this feature on your website.

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