Thoughts on Engineering, Photography, and Design.

Hey, I'm Ryan Heath. I design & develop things for a living and play with cameras for fun. This is where I share my thoughts on all of that — and probably more — along the way.

Composition Tip: Scale

Let’s get to it: When you’re shooting something big, think of ways to show its scale. Scale is a powerful composition trick that adds impact to a photo. When properly done, the viewer can feel like they’re in the scene vs looking at the scene.


100mm, f8, 1/1300, ISO 125

There’s nothing special about this photo, but I intentionally waited for this gliding bird to be in the scene solely because of scale. I think having that tiny bird in there shows how large the cloud actually is, as well as the rainbow.

Now, this is just a photo of some random clouds, so perhaps it’s a poor example. But imagine if this were a massive waterfall? Or a mountain? By itself, it would be a nice photo, but the viewer may not be able to comprehend actually being there. Now, if at the base of that waterfall or mountain were a tiny car, or person, or tree, or… you get the idea. The photo would feel completely different. And overall, isn’t that the goal? Make the viewer feel something (good or bad)?

Next time you’re out shooting, keep this in mind: for grandiose scenes, the impact and drama of your photography can be greatly improved if you’re considering scale.