Portrait or Landscape

One of the more common questions when it comes to composing images is whether to shoot with the camera oriented in the landscape or the portrait position (horizontal or vertical).  As always, the answer is usually along the lines of “it depends…”

There are some instances though when a portrait orientation is more conducive and others where a landscape is equally superior.  For instance – if you want to have your images published in magazines, portrait mode might work better primarily because that is how magazines are typically laid out.  Calendars, on the other hand, because of the opposing orientation, are more inclined toward landscape setups.  Your subject matter can also dictate preferred setups too…portrait mode is called portrait mode for a reason – it is particularly well suited to photos of people.  Likewise, landscape mode is also named that way because scenes and vistas (landscapes) typically extend from left to right and not top to bottom.

Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, when a landscape orientation may work for a particular portrait, or a vertical orientation make work for a group setting of people.  So, which one should you shoot?  My easy answer is to shoot both for any particular scene.  Often what I will do is if I find a subject that I want to capture to make a picture, I will shoot it four ways:

  1. Portrait
  2. Landscape
  3. Zoomed in
  4. Zoomed out

The latter two is a subject for another post some day, but for today, I thought it’d a be a fun way to cue up the weekend by reminding everyone to try shooting more ways than one – the results may surprise you!

A final reminder for the week too – there are only seven days left in the January circles themed Flickr Giveaway.  The winner will enjoy a free copy of Photomatix Pro from the folks at HDR Soft.  Is your picture in?  Don’t delay, submit today! 🙂  Happy shooting all and we’ll see you here next week!

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3 comments for “Portrait or Landscape

  1. January 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Trying to talk a friend into going out to Lake Michigan to shoot. It’s very rare to see a sunny 39F day in January in Michigan. 🙂 Will try to keep your tip in mind.
    .-= @TheCamerani´s last blog ..Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Digital Camera with Built-In Projector =-.

  2. January 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Hi Jason, Good tip. The old axiom seems to apply when getting published… “The editor always wants the format you don’t have.”

  3. January 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve always been a big fan of portrait oriented photographs until I got into the concert photography business and realized that my most dynamic photos were all landscape.

    I shoot both continually – so I’m glad I don’t have to choose just one.

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