Even though I’m juuuust getting this post in on time this week, I wrestle with the old horizontal vs. vertical shots all the time when I’m taking pictures. As I look through my archives, I notice that I tend to take A LOT of portrait shots. I feel like landscape shots leave too much space in a picture – my camera has a pitiful zoom and I use the portrait shot to crop that extra space out of a picture. Here are a few examples:
I was at a small coffee stand in Los Angeles, and as I sat, waiting for my latte, I turned and looked down the long serving counter. I wanted to capture the view of what I saw when I looked down the counter at all the other customers, lined up in a row. So, I stood my camera on end and took a few shots, trying to focus on the length of the counter, complemented by the shiny line of the coffee machine. Then, on a whim, I turned my camera to a landscape position, and got the shot on the right. It captured more of the people at the counter, and I think that picture tells a better story. I caught the customer next to me ordering her drink with as many words and gestures as possible, and the barista’s (baristo’s?) face as he listened to her prattle.
I tend to like long, vertical lines in my pictures, which usually leads my to taking shots in portrait setup. Here’s another set of shots:
Months ago, my family visited a museum up in Pennsylvania that was displaying replicas of master paintings, rendered in Jelly Belly beans. I loved seeing my daughter vamp in front of the iconic Rosie the Riverter, so to capture the whole (vertical) picture as well as my daughter’s pose in the first photo, I used portrait mode. For whatever reason, when I shifted my position a little to line up Rosie’s arm and my daughter’s arm, I flipped to landscape mode. I wish I hadn’t – it leaves blank wall space on each side of the shot, which I don’t care for. However, I like the tighter shot of my daughter, and the mirroring of the arm positions in that photo better than results in the vertical one, shot at a little more distance.
I need to experiment more with switching my camera positions according to my subject matter, and zoom capability. One 90-degree pivot can change the story of a photograph immensely.
Also, I wonder if my penchant for taking vertical shots stems from frequent use of my iPhone to take pictures? Hmmmm…something to think about.