March 10, 2017

#tinypeoplebigplaces: Creating Stunning Scale in Your Photos

Words + Photos : Jonathan Taylor Sweet

Look at the stars. Climb a mountain. Travel the world. Do the things that make you feel small.

One of the most powerful human experiences is confronting the sublime. Realizing your place in the world. Getting perspective on how it all fits together. And experiencing the sheer vastness of the place we call home. That’s why we love #tinypeoplebigplacesphotos. They embody what it’s like to be a person exploring this monstrous planet.

Jon Sweet is one of our favorite photographers for this style, so we sat down with him to get some advice about creating awesome #tinypeoplebigplaces photos. Here are his tips:



Tip #1 – Party Ready Placement

Sometimes in a photograph, big places can be a bit misleading, about the area’s grandeur. Placing a subject in a frame doesn’t need to be complicated. My usual tactic is simple! Get your subject into the most noticeable spot you can. That way the scale of its environment really pops. Using the Wide Lens V2 helps because, with the new design, you get a crisper image, making your subject even more noticeable. Compositionally, I tend to always place the subject on one of the Law of Thirds intersections.



Tip #2 -Disco Ball

Light can sometimes be a tricky beast, especially in Iceland where the weather changes every five minutes, so I treated the adventures like a disco ball. Lighting is one of the most important things when shooting and capturing exactly what you are looking for. A lot of how I shoot is aimed at how I treat the photos in post (editing). I usually try to find the best angle where the lighting is balanced or where shadows are not overwhelming. Lighting is one of the best friends you can have as well. When the light is just right, it allows you to capture the perfect image.





Tip#3 – Learn a New Move

Sometimes the greatest thing we can do is have fun. My favorite way to have fun behind the camera is to learn a new trick or try something I’ve never done. Photography at its core has rules, but the most liberating part of this art is that it’s personal and innovative. In my approach to getting frames like these, I had to try something new.

One thing that I did was shoot video. I don’t usually do that, and I’m not a videographer by any means, but shooting video allowed me to see things in a different way. Seeing the movement gave me better vision for what I wanted to capture via photo.

I encourage you to learn new things and try new ways to create similar ideas. If you’ve never tried to shoot #tinypeoplebigplaces, then make some time to go shoot, and start there! Have fun, think big, and don’t be scared to break rules.



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