Monday, 14 February 2011

Format Choice: Portrait or Landscape?

In photography, one of the most important parts is composition. You can have the best, fanciest, most expensive, latest pro camera, if you haven't got at least a little eye for composing your image, you're photos will always lack something. It's not about technology but about seeing (although having a good camera is a great thing to have - just don't rely on it to make a great photo). What part of the subject are you going to represent? Wide angle, close-up, macro view, putting it fully visible in the centre (maybe better not), or somewhere to the right and cutting off some parts (remembering the rule of thirds and adding a bit more drama/interest). These are just few examples.

Another question is the question of format you choose: Landscape or Portrait. Some subjects traditionally demand a certain format - such as the portrait or the landscape, obviously. On the other hand, going for the unexpected frame might just make the subjects more interesting. Especially in landscape shots with water, i.e. lakes and rivers, I find that the portrait format often works much better. But at many times, I'm finding it really hard to decide which format to choose and so I often end up taking several photos of the same subject in both formats. And then I simply can't decide which one I prefer! As with my favourite tea lover mug.

I think that the landscape format really works well with the subject, focus on the mug and the lovely amaretti, and I like the cut off chairs and that blue bit behind the chair.

But I also quite like the portrait format which puts the mug and amaretto into the foreground, with the cut off handle of the mug and the two chairs visible in the background inviting you to sit down, take a break and have a nice cup of tea.

Usually, I slightly prefer one version to the other, but here are cases, like this one, where I just simply cannot decide...

Yet another choice then comes with the processing. SOOC (which I never really do at all), some slight post processing to bring out colours, tones, brightness etc. Or using textures and/or actions (which I still haven't figured out how to use with my PSE8). I've been quite a bit of a texture addict these last few weeks, and I still absolutely love them. But in the last few days, when doing the assignments for the Mastering Manual Mode class, I didn't use textures, just some slight processing, and have been quite happy with the result.

So here's the above image with a texture. I quite like it, but I also like the one without. Another example of where I just simply can't decide...

Oh my, always these decisions, decisions. I think it's time for a nice cup of tea now... :-)


  1. Hi Katja,

    Great photos as usual, but I'd go with the portrait format as it follows the shape of the mug. (I also wouldn't have cropped the handle). Your recent set of images using quotes and textures has shown real flair. Have you considered making them into a blurb book?


  2. how nice that there is a cup of tea waiting at the end of this age-old dilemma. i almost ALWAYS choose landscape shots. i only ever do portrait when the landscape won't work for some reason. and then, i LOVE to take even my landscape shots and make them square, so then it's not even an issue. the outside "stuff" is just superfluous. but often that's when i create an oops image and i have to eliminate something in the shot that photoshop cloning wouldn't fix. =)

    i love either one in this case.

    hope you've been well... sorry i have not been by for so long.