When it comes to landscape photography it may seem perfectly logical that you should keep your camera in a horizontal/landscape position, usually we are confronted by sweeping vistas and sometimes even the widest of lenses just doesn’t seem to be enough to fit it all in. However, turning your camera to a vertical/portrait position can be equally rewarding and in fact may help to improve your pictures in certain situations.
The strength of any picture will always be partly down to how you choose to compose the frame. I always take a few moments to have a good look at what’s in front of me, deciding what elements are available to help draw the viewers eye through the scene. Take a look at the picture below.
It was a very peaceful morning, the light was nice, the tide was out, but there was very little in the way of interesting objects that could’ve given me something solid to focus on. After initially taking a low position and framing my camera in a horizontal format, I decided that the most interesting feature were ripples in the sand. Having set up the camera and got ready with my remote shutter release I took my first shot, but after I reviewed it on the LCD I felt that the impact of the foreground was somehow diminished by the horizontal framing, so I chose to move the camera to a vertical/portrait position. Having the edges of the frame closer together forces your eye to really concentrate on the ripples. I also made sure to have the sand going diagonally through the frame so they would naturally draw your eye from bottom to top.
Sometimes though, taking pictures in both landscape and portrait formats can be equally pleasing, as found in these two pictures of the same location.
Being a location situated high up in the mountains, choosing to frame in a portrait format has allowed me to give a greater sense of height while keep the two most important elements within the frame.
So when out in the landscape, don’t forget to go portrait.
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