What’s your favourite aspect ratio?

Aspect Ratios – Let’s talk!

It might sound like a strange question to ask and maybe you’ve never thought about it before. But being a photographer, this is something I have to think about a lot!

If I take a photo for a client in the landscape orientation, but the space on their website is for a portrait orientation photo, it’s not ideal.

So one of the first questions I always ask a client is which orientation they need the photos in. But following on from this is the question of aspect ratios. Some clients have spaces on their website for photos in a certain aspect ratio only. So I need to know this in order to supply their photographs in the correct format.

Fashion

Some people say that portrait orientation photos are going out of fashion because we’re all so used to seeing photos on our computer monitors, which of course, are landscape. That said, we also view photos an awful lot on our phones.

But we are used to seeing videos and films in landscape, so perhaps this also influences our preferences.

As a photographer, your immediate inclination is to take a photo of a person in portrait orientation (hence the name). However, a portrait can also look great in landscape orientation. You get to see more of the environment and put the subject in context.

Insta-square

However, there’s a third option of course, which is the square format. I think this has become more popular since Instagram, which shows your feed as square images. There are ways to hack this of course – see my Instagram feed where I tend to add a white border to the images to make them (technically) square, but they appear landscape or portrait in my grid.

Aspect Ratios

So once we’ve decided on landscape or portrait (or square), we then need to make sure we’re using the correct aspect ratio. Some websites require a 4:3 aspect ratio for example. Some images, such as banner images, may be used in a wide-angle format. While you can’t take the photo in this aspect ratio, you can shoot with it in mind so that when you edit the photo, it looks right. Another example may be a photo to be used on a wide-angle print, such as this one of the Malvern Hills:

Finally

I hope this helps you to think about what you need from your photos. For more things to consider when commissioning photography, please see my guide on how to prepare for your photo shoot.

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