This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Figures In Landscape Too Small. When photographing landscapes in which figures appear, the great mistake beginners make is that they wait before making the exposure until the subject gets too far away. The beginner does not realize that every step the object moves away from him, just that much smaller will the object appear. The lens has not the accommodating brain to reproduce the object in the size that the individual imagines the object appears. You should practice with your camera previous to making an exposure by observing on the ground-glass the size of similar objects situated at varying distances from the camera.
Figures Not Harmonizing With Landscapes. A great many landscape scenes require certain objects to carry out their meaning, while other objects would be entirely out of place and detract from the interest of the scene.
Figures Too Large. This difficulty seldom occurs with the average amateur, but when the figure is too near the camera it will take up too much space and be more particularly a photograph of the figure than of the landscape. Consider whether you are to make a landscape picture, having the figure simply as an accessory to carry out your idea; or whether you must have the figure as the main point of interest and the landscape of simply secondary importance - more as a background. When a figure appears in the foreground of a landscape and the horizon is too low, the figure will be distorted and have the appearance of being a giant. This difficulty often occurs in hand camera work, and care should be taken then that the camera is not held too low.
Groups Too Scattered. If there are a number of figures in the landscape scattered through the picture space, the attention of the eye will be distracted and not concentrated on any one item, thus causing an uneasiness to the observer which results in an utter failure, from the pictorial standpoint at least. Figures should be grouped to carry out the idea of the landscape, and should be arranged according to lights and darks, in a manner that will secure harmonious composition.
Groups Too Large For Landscape. This difficulty is approximately the same as the one given in Paragraph 387. You must take into consideration whether or not the group or the landscape is the main object you are photographing.
Uninteresting Foreground. This difficulty will occur when
Difficulties - Landscape Photography. 1 73 you do not give this extremely important portion of the picture its due consideration. From the point of view of composition, the foreground should receive the greatest amount of attention; but, in the majority of cases the beginner and average amateur pay very little attention to the proper rendering of this item. Not only is lack of attention the reason for disregarding the foreground, but the difficulties experienced in arranging and regulating, in a satisfactory manner, objects and figures, as well as plants and animal life, are reasons for so many failures in properly handling the foreground.
391. A second and very common difficulty which leads to a valueless foreground is the use of a lens which takes in too wide an angle of view. If you have met with difficulty along these lines, you should go back to Chapter IX (Advanced Development Of Over-Timed Plates), and study again, very carefully, Paragraph 287 to and including Paragraph 299, as this feature of landscape photography has been dealt with most carefully.