Have you ever noticed how the smallest things in photography sometimes make a big difference? It’s no wonder considering we measure moments in just fractions of a second. Here’s one tip I learned a long time ago that I still use because it has resulted in a greater number of better photographs.
Because of the way cameras are built, there is a tendency to photograph mostly horizontal images and making vertical photographs is either an after thought or we don’t make them at all. It is also the way we see because are eyes are set horizontally apart from each other and that means we see a wider view rather than a taller view of the world.
So how do you know when to make a vertical photograph? The answer is quite simply, right after you’ve made a horizontal image. Commercial photographers know this all too well. They only need to have clients ask for a vertical image when they don’t have one, to know the value of having both.
Here’s an example of two images I made. The horizontal one was the fourth frame I made and the last one before I made three vertical images. The second vertical image is the one I finally settled on as the best of the bunch.
Making a vertical image works to isolate something in your view because your peripheral vision is blocked by the orientation of that frame. It also works when the subject matter in your photograph is taller than it is wider. This is why standard portraits or headshots are typically vertical and why environmental portraits are usually horizontal.
The next time you go out with your camera, try to make vertical photographs right after you’ve made your horizontal photographs. If you develop this habit, you just might find a few more keepers than you normally would.