Get creative with scal e
What ’s the Big Idea?
How often have you looked at a photo of a waterfall and had no idea if it was three or 30 feet tall? When you want to show the size of something, you must include an object that is a known size to give the image scale, and then everything becomes clear.
One way to add a sense of scale to images is to place an object close to the lens with the rest of the scene in the background. This is a classic near-far technique used to add depth in landscape photography. The only problem is that it usually requires the use of a wide-angle lens, which will make the close object look large in the frame and the background appear much smaller.
The best way to emphasise your subject by using scale is to use a telephoto lens to compress the scene. This will keep the main subject large within the frame, then, when you place a smaller element in the scene that provides a sense of scale, the viewer will get the full impact of the scene.
What ’s the Key?
The key to this technique is a well-placed element to contrast with the main subject. It won’t be as effective if the element is so small that you have to search for it, or if it’s placed against a matching tone so it blends in. In this image of Dynjandi waterfall in Iceland, I chose to use a 70-200mm lens set at 70mm to crop in tight on part of the waterfall. If I had included the entire thing, which was twice the size of what is shown here, the person would have been so small that you wouldn’t see him, defeating the point of using scale. I composed the scene so that he was placed in the lower third of the frame against the white section of the waterfall. A red coat also stands out much more than a green or blue coat would.
When you want to show the size of something, include an object that is a know n size to give the image scale
Whatever you use to give a sense of scale has to be large enough to be recognisable