Have you ever considered whether it’s better to take a picture in horizontal or vertical orientation? In photography terms, they’re called landscape or portrait. What about a square photo? When are they good to use?
In a world of smart phone shots, DSLR cameras, Instagram, and Pinterest, it can be a little confusing as to what’s the best way to take a picture.
Today, we’re going to look at photos taken in landscape, portrait and cropped to a square and I’ll give you some guidelines and tips for taking better shots in all three.
Let’s get started.
When I was out recently with a friend in a nature park, the boardwalk we were using caught my attention. I loved the lines of it. Literally. The dappled sunlight also added interest.
The first shot I took was in portrait or vertical orientation.
Why? Because the long lines of the path lead your eye up and away into the lush greens of the park.
Of course, I didn’t stop there but decided to take a horizontal or landscape shot as well. If you notice, though, I’m lower down and closer to the boardwalk for this picture.
Why? Because I needed to change my perspective and have the boardwalk fit the frame of horizontal better.
In this particular case, I think the portrait shot is much stronger and more powerful.
TIP 1: After taking a shot in portrait, try taking another shot in landscape but reframe the picture to suit the change in orientation. And, vice versa.
Later on the walk, we came upon beautiful wildflowers during Golden Hour. Again, I wanted to take shots in both orientations.
I started with a portrait shot because of the long stem.
But then, I turned the camera and took a landscape shot after reframing. In this case, I actually like the horizontal shot better. The vastness of the green makes the purple head pop more.
Plus, this could make a great meme photo.
But in an online world, sometimes, we need a square shot. So, I cropped this flower to a square.
Notice how cropping makes a difference?
TIP 2: Try both horizontal and vertical orientations. You may be surprised which you like more.
On to our last set.
While on vacation recently in Maine, we got to watch some amazing sunsets on the coast. Luckily, we were able to take our dog Liam with us! He’s a cutie, isn’t he?
This is a horizontal shot of him with the sunset happening behind him. Notice the soft glow around his fur from the setting sun? There’s a reason it’s called Golden Hour. With a landscape shot, you can see the sun, the rocky beach and the water. You get the sense of being there.
Of course I took the shot both ways and here’s the vertical shot.
While he’s still adorable in this photo, I definitely prefer the horizontal one.
But then I cropped it to a square.
Now Liam fills the frame entirely. I think this makes a really strong photo as well. You know you’re looking at Liam and you can still see this sun just behind him. This would be a great Instagram shot!
TIP 3: Try a square shot on your smart phone or crop your pictures on your computer afterward.
So, the next time you take a picture with your phone or regular camera, try taking a portrait and landscape shot to see which is a stronger or more interesting picture. Take a square shot if you can, or crop it when the image is on your computer!
Hope these tips are helpful,
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!
Mary Denman is a photographer who also writes and loves to teach. As a freelance writer, Mary has had articles published in various forms ranging from Focus on the Family publications to magazines to devotions to op-ed pieces. She’s a member of several professional writing organizations including ACFW, My Book Therapy, and Word Weavers.
As a professional photographer, Mary has had photos published in both print literature and online. Her shots have been used by businesses and by fellow authors alike.
Her philosophy is to catch a moment that reflects God’s beauty and creativity, whether in nature, in life or in the face of her subjects. Mary blends the mediums of writing and photography on her blog. www.marydenman.blogspot.com.