5 ways how a human touch in photography can have truly magical effects

If you’re a landscape photographer, you might be wary about including the human touch in photography. And it’s easy to understand why. For many different reasons, adding a human touch to photography may increase its effect. On the other side, particularly among landscape photographers, there is a desire to go away from other people and have a pure experience with nature, free of any human intervention.

The human touch in photography - Trekker in front of Mt Harmuk near Gangbal lake
Trekker in front of Mt Harmuk near Gangbal lake

Reasons for having a human touch in the photography

Human touch shows a sense of scale

For starters, it may give your scene a sense of scale. When it comes to art, the mystery is excellent, but showing size may be important if you want to express vastness, width, and grandeur. Even though this is Bhutan’s largest Buddha statue, when photographed with a wide-angle lens, the image below will appear little. Placing people in front of the monument, on the other hand, will emphasize its size.

The largest statue of Buddha
The largest statue of Buddha, people in front show the scale.
Punakha Dzong
Ravindra Joisa standing in front of 12 feet high window.

Human touch might activate the subjective factor

The presence of a human figure might activate the subjective factor. In other words, the spectator may project himself or herself into the scene and feel as if they were there – or at least desire to be there. In the photograph below, from my Roopkund trek or the Bedni Budyal climb in the Himalayas, you can see trekkers trekking along the crest of Asia’s greatest high altitude meadows, with the Himalayas in the backdrop. The spectator will feel as though they are truly thereby gazing at the photograph.

A strong and immediate focal point with the human touch

A human figure creates a strong and immediate focal point. Inserting a person into the scene might help you identify a landing spot for the eye if you’re having trouble finding one. When there is no topic to focus on, add a human to the photo or walkabout to discover a subject instead of a human. As shown in the image below, adding humans, standing at the peak of Ettina Bhuja after a few hours of hiking through the jungle, gives a sense of success.

Patterns with Human touch

Here another approach to shooting individuals in a location is to look for or create patterns with the people. Photographing patterns from above, like in a bird’s eye view viewpoint, is an excellent technique to create them. Lines, symmetrical patterns, and filling the frame with repetition are all wonderful pattern ideas to hunt for or develop with locals who are willing to be photographed. It’s a terrific opportunity to be creative, which I believe is an essential component of photography, and because the results can be quite visually beautiful, it’s always a good idea to consider including patterns in your photos. You might be interested in learning more about leading lines and adding people.

Trekkers hiking to Roopkund in the Himalayas
A group of trekkers – Roopkund trek in the Himalayas

It is not just the human touch

It is not just the human touch in photography, there can be any subject. In the above image, as you can see, there is a tent against the mountain behind. This was captured at Kanamo basecamp which is at around 16,000 feet above sea level. The Kanamo summit is at 19,600 feet and trekkers start from this place. Coming back to the topic, an image of this kind with only one subject can add a lot of mystery to the image and make it look more interesting.

Camping at Kanamo base camp.

I’d want to make a brief note. If you wish to sell a photograph for professional use, make sure to obtain the model release of the person in the image, as well as the property release if the image contains architecture. This is required when licensing the image or attempting to sell the image to stock agencies.

Didina village Bedni Bugyal trek and Roopkund trek
Didina village is a small settlement in the Himalayan mountain range.

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One Reply to “5 ways how a human touch in photography can have truly magical effects”

  1. Yamato Cosmos says:

    Best view I have ever seen!

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