The trick to photographing scenes with people in there is to shoot it like you mean it. That’s the main difference between a successful photo with people in there compared to a photo where “those damn people walked into my frame”. People within a scene can add another dimension to the image by perhaps telling a visual story that wouldn’t be there otherwise, or perhaps add a sense of scale to the scene therefore making the photo more impactful as a result. Photography is really the art of simplification. It’s about making order out of a chaotic world. The hardest thing about photographing live scenes with people in there is that you have no control over their actions and it’s hard to predict the end results of the photo.
What I like about incorporating people within my photography is that it’s a hybrid style of shooting that combines the methodical compositional techniques of traditional landscape photography with “the decisive moment” spontaneity of street photography. If the timing and anticipation is off, then you would have been better off not including people in the scene, and if the composition isn’t quite there then it’s just a bad scenic photo. In the rare moments when both come to together then you have a rare photo.
In the case of this photo of downtown Los Angeles, the couple within the photo had walked past me and I knew they were headed down the path to the water fountains so I got my basic composition in order and waited until they walked into the frame while hoping the woman would keep her arm around her man until I got a few frames off at least. I got one frame of this, and the other frame right after was of them arm-in-arm. With anticipation, timing, and a bit of luck I got my photo.
My entire thought process was centered around the actions of the couple within this scene. Yet they are the smallest element within the frame surrounded by tall skyscrapers, a beautiful water fountain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It’s easy to get caught up in all the obvious stuff when out shooting but I like paying attention to the details because that is the aspect that will make or break a photo.
See more of my Los Angeles pictures.