Something I think about a lot:

When should we shoot vertical and when should we shoot horizontal? And what visual-psychological effects do either have?

Horizontal photos better for negative space?

To place my subject on the extreme left of the frame — perhaps this is better to emphasize negative space.

Figure it out while you’re shooting

Some portraits Cindy shot of me– some horizontal, some vertical.

Perhaps we shouldn’t think too much about horizontal vs vertical (from an intellectual perspective). Maybe when we see an interesting scene, we should just shoot both then figure out later which works better.

Layered photos work better as horizontal photos

Layers in Mexico City, 2020

If you want to shoot layers, then perhaps horizontal compositions are better.

Capturing more of the scene

Also when shooting horizontally, you capture more of a scene.

Vertical photos to eliminate clutter

The upside of shooting vertical photos:

You can get closer to your subject (portrait) and fill the frame, and eliminate clutter.

Shooting horizontally and getting really close makes for more mysterious images

I generally find it more difficult to frame a scene horizontally when you get really close to a subject. Thus in this sense, an idea is:

As a “creative constraint”, shoot all your photos horizontally, and get very close to your subjects.

Mark Cohen does this well in his street photography by cutting off the heads and limbs of his subjects.

Horizontals ideal for laptop screens

Also if you’re doing a photography project, it does often help to have all the photos in the project all horizontal. Why? Considering most of our laptop screens and monitors are horizontal, horizontal photos better fit our screens as “full screen”.

This is what I did in my SUITS project: shot all the photos as horizontal:

How about smartphones?

Another thought:

Snapchat is “vertical video”. Why? Because it is smartphone-first.

Then perhaps if your strategy is to optimize your photos for phones, then perhaps a “vertical-dominant” strategy is ideal.

Tiled Galleries

My new favorite discovery and joy is ‘tiled galleries‘– a function in WordPress in which it automatically optimizes BOTH your horizontal AND vertical photos in a nice tiled collage.

With this; it doesn’t matter!

Practical ideas:

  1. Perhaps for a photo project: shoot it ALL horizontal, or ALL vertical (as a fun creative constraint).
  2. If you just wanna shoot freely; shoot both. When you see interesting scenes, keep “working the scene” in BOTH vertical and horizontal.
  3. Just shoot however you like, and then figure out later how to layout your photos (according to your verticals and horizontals).

But ultimately, what is the great joy of photography? Unlike CINEMA, we are not slaves to only horizontal-orientation. So my takeaway:

When in doubt, embrace BOTH horizontal and vertical!

ERIC

Photography 101

Dear friend,

If you’re new to photography, start here:

  1. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Photography
  2. Free Photography Bootcamp
  3. 100 Photography Tips for Beginners

New Photography

Photography Tips


Photography Articles


Photography Techniques


Everyday Photography

RICOH GR II selfie in mirror, double eye surreal. Prague, 2017

Color Photography 101

Photography Philosophy

Photography Inspiration

The Fundamentals of Photography


Photography Equipment »

How to Take Better Photos »

Composition Lessons »

Photography Assignments »

Contact Sheets »

Editing (Image Selection) »

Creativity »

Motivation »

Post-Processing

How to Create a Body of Work

Technical Photography Settings


Learn From the Masters of Photography

MASTERS PROTOTYPE by HAPTIC

“He without a past has no future.”

Start here:

  1. Why Study the Masters of Photography?
  2. Great Female Master Photographers
  3. Cheat Sheet of the Masters of Photography
  4. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  5. Beginner’s Guide to the Masters of Street Photography
  6. Download All Articles >

The Masters of Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Classics never die:

ERIC KIM NEWS

Free inspiration for you:






Master Photography >
Seize Your Destiny >
Get Real Feedback on Your Photos >
Never Stop Asking Why?