Technique: Adding Scale to Images
Photographs can offer an odd view of the world. When you look at a scene, you may focus on one part, but you really see it in a larger context. That isn't necessarily so in an image, leaving it seem unreal. A good example is the type of landscape you'll see many people take - a beautiful vista, but somehow off-putting. Often the problem is that everything is far away and there is no visual comparison in size. Great landscapes usually have some sense of scale, to make the viewer better understand the grandeur of the scene. For example, look at the Ansel Adams photo Bridalveil Fall. Seeing the tops of the trees adds a reference to give a sense of just how far the water is falling. You might include a person, a vehicle, a building, an object, or almost anything else to act as a type of measuring stick. What is interesting is that something can act as a scale reference when included in a picture, but can lose that quality when photographed by itself. To provide a scale reference, you need an item that offers a contrast in size, and which is also familiar enough so that the viewer will be familiar with its size from ordinary experience.