It goes one of two ways. You've just returned home from the most fantastic family vacation and you can't wait to share your images with the world (gotta love Facebook!). So you post some pics from that day you spent at Niagra Falls. Or Fenway Park. Or The Field of Dreams. And you get one of two responses.
Either people say "Wow, great photo of your kids there, but where is that?", because you went for the cute faces and so lost the entire landmark.
Or, you remembered to actually include the landmark, and so people comment with, "Wow, how cool that you went to Fenway Park, but which of the tiny heads are your kids?" You got the giant sign or feature, but lost the kids in the process.
There's an easy solution to this, but bear with me that my visuals will have more to do with soccer fields and athletic equipment because that's about the only way I can get my model to cooperate for me. You'll get the idea, though.
In the first image, you can see that I went for my son's portrait and in the process, I missed the entire landmark, which here is the soccer net. It's actually necessary for the shot because without it, he's just a kid standing here with a soccer ball. There is no story. No "landmark". No point to the image.
Now in the shot below, I remembered to shoot the "landmark", but in the process I shrunk my kid and he's an insignificant part of the photo now. It's no longer a portrait of my son in his happy place. It's just a photo of a giant soccer net, with a kid standing in front. No impact. No story. No power.
The solution to this is super simple.
Move yourself and your subject away from the landmark! Back away from sign of Fenway Park, or from the baseball park at The Field of Dreams. Keep your subject close to you and the landmark farther away. Then shoot the subject with the full landmark in the shot far behind him. Now you're creating a story with your image. Now you've got a portrait of your fabulous kids with the significant environment included. Now your comments will just be "Wow!"
Super simple tip, but super effective!
Remember this the next time you find yourself somewhere significant and want to capture a portrait of your loves there.
Happy summer vacationing!