Shooting Square – by JJ Michael

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Ever get bored of the rectangular image format that comes out of your camera? If you’re looking to shake up your photography and want to experiment with something new, give square images a try.

The square format works well with a wide variety of images. A square already has a natural sense of balance which lends itself nicely to symmetrical compositions, but accommodates well spaced, asymmetrical compositions as well.


love birds

All of the normal elements of visual design still apply to square images, such as the use of shape and form, texture, lines, color, subject position and space, but regardless of how you construct your image, simple compositions tend to work best within a square frame.

pig snout



To create a square photo you’re going to need to crop part of your image in the computer using Lightroom, Photoshop, or some other editing software. With this in mind, you’ll need to be careful when out shooting to make sure the crop won’t cut off an important part of your composition. A trick I learned to ensure my square compositions fit nicely in the frame and can be cropped properly is to use the focus points in my view finder. To do this I shot several test images to find exactly which focus points would line up with the edge of my square image. Now anytime I want to make a square photo I know exactly how to line up my shot.

It’s always good to pre-visualize your final image before you press your shutter release button, but there’s no harm in going back through your catalog of images to see if maybe some of them might be well suited for a square crop.