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How to Show Size in Photographs

conveying size in photography
Photo by: Jono Hey

Showing size or scale in a photograph is trickier than it seems, the vast mountains, huge buildings, monuments, trees or rock formations that we saw and experienced with our own eyes, when photographed surprisingly lost all sense of their size and could be mistaken for any regular landscape feature.

The trick to effectively convey a sense of size of an object is to use another; of which’s size viewers are familiar. The second object serves as a sense of scale so that the viewer immediately has a visual reference as to how large a mountain or rock is in comparison to the familiar object. The most effective method to add a sense of scale is to include the human form in our pictures.

 conveying a sense of scale in photography
Photo by: Rick Harrison

Our eyes have the capacity to immediately recognize the human form no matter how small it appears in a scene; our brain immediately does the calculations and conveys information as to size of the surrounding objects. So, the next time you want to show the sheer size of something, simply add a person to your shot and you've got an instant frame of reference everyone can identify with.

showing size in photography
Photo by: Nicholas Petrone

By the way, this trick also works for things that are very small. Simply put the object in someone's hands, and it instantly tells the story.
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