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Bill Groody

Interesting point. Since I produce a lot of video and most of my still work winds up there, I have forced myself to think and shoot stills in a 16x9 aspect ratio so almost 100% of my work is horizontal. From time to time, when I go to print an image, I find that a vertical composition would have been better. Looking back in Lightroom to my pre 2005 images, my ration is about like yours 3:1.

Misha Gregory Macaw

I wonder if there's any insight to be gained from considering painting. I don't know what the ratio for that is, but I've been to a lot of art museums and my feeling is that the balance tips towards the landscape format. If that's the case, and since painters aren't constrained by the aspect ratio of a camera, maybe the landscape format just has a natural, human appeal?

Sorry, I don't use Lightroom, so can't provide any statistics there. :-)

John Miller

I've always thought I shot a lot more vertical compositions rather than landscape, however, the statistics don't lie. I'm quite a bit more balanced than I thought. 52% Landscape.

Jim Bullard

As I think about it, the only camera that I've ever owned that was set up for vertical orientation was (is, I still own it) my Fuji GS 645 Pro. It took me a bit to get accustomed to turning the camera for landscapes. If I had my druthers cameras would all be square so you could just crop whatever (or not) from the image after shooting without having to flip the camera on its side.


Interesting! I am almost exclusively a landscape orientation photographer. Don't know why, but at times I find vertical shots hard to soak in. I wonder if our eyes/vision simply rests more comfortably in the landscape format?

Brooks Jensen

Jim, I completely forgot about the Fuji 645 cameras — and at one time I owned one! I had the one with the fixed wide angle lens and loved it. I now remember that it did take some getting used to. As I recall, they marketed it as a "portrait" camera because of the vertical format.

Chuck Kimmerle

If god had wanted me to shoot verticals, he would have put one eye above the other

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Maureen "Mo" Gallagher

I am clearly the oddball here... although my subject leans strongly towards people rather than landscape... which is more often than not a vertical subject. Well... most of the time. ;-)


Cameras with built-in vertical orientation? The Fuji GA645 and Bronica RF645 models come to mind...

Stephen Kane

Don't have Lightroom but ... it appears to be about 50-50. This oddball result may reflect, first, that I use the oddball Olympus E-5, with a Four-Thirds ratio that automatically shows too much sky; second, that I shoot a lot in the city, where a landscape orientation can bring in too much extraneous stuff; and third, that I shoot a lot of trees, plants, wading birds, etc that reward a vertical approach. I'm always trying to isolate, and vertical seems to be good at that in many cases.

Merg Ross

Taking a quick look at a number of my portfolios, the horizontal and vertical compositions are evenly divided. I suspect this may be due in part to the majority having been composed with view cameras, and the ease of orientation to vertical or horizontal. I would prefer, however, to believe that it is simply the "strongest way of seeing". Thank you EW.

I find that viewing vertical compositions is a more contemplative experience, while the eye tends to read horizontal compositions more rapidly. Perhaps that is just me!

Brooks Jensen

Merg, and interesting comment about the "more contemplative experience." Do you find that true with just your work, or with everyone's work? And do others find this true, too?

Merg Ross

Brooks, not an observation unique to my work. I first noticed the more contemplative experience in museum/gallery exhibitions years ago. As an example, place ten prints on a wall in landscape orientation, and ten prints on an opposite wall in portrait orientation. Now, set your stopwatch (kidding, of course) and commence the viewing experience. I'll bet you spent more time at the second wall. There are, of course, many variables in this unscientific example, but I believe our eyes more quickly assimilate subjects presented in landscape orientation.

Joe Lipka

May I play, too? 70/30 Horizontal over vertical, but sometimes I leave the verticals as horizontals, so would the suggested method of analysis only work if you are obsessive about Light Room? Who could be like that???

I remember a recent discussion when you thought my vertical images in a folio were larger than the horizontal ones. Both are the same size because I standardize on images. So the vertical images look bigger than the horizontal ones of the same size. Hmmmmm.

PS. All my favorite EW photos are verticals. So it's obvious which is the strongest way of seeing. :)

Michael N. Meyer

I had one of the Fuji rangefinders that had a native vertical image orientation. In the five or six years I used that camera I could probably count on one hand the number of horizontal images I made with it. It was difficult to hold steady if you wanted to take a horizontal image (at least for me) and tended to push one towards verticals.

When I used to work with view cameras, because the orientation could be changed easily (and in a sense previewed) I shoot more evenly split between vertical and horizontals.

With digital, I've found that the balance is very much skewed towards horizontals--something odd since with my 35mm film cameras I more often swung them up into vertical orientation. I have an exhibit opening next week: 24 horizontal images and 3 verticals--and those verticals were chosen partly to fit the installation to the quirks of the space.

Steve Malloy

3:1 is about what I get as well - though it depends on the scene. Natural landscapes are more landscape format, urban landscape are more vertical.
Half frame film cameras (i.e. Olympus Pen) had vertical format finders. I only used one for a short time as a snapshot camera, but I did find I took a higher percentage of vertical photos with it.


Ask the same thing among portrait photographers and you'll get the same numbers, in reverse. If not, "landscape" and "portrait" orientation would be rather inaptly named.

I suppose the difference you observe has little to do with photography and all the more with human behaviour. When you leave the train or plane or whatever, the first thing you do is looking around, scanning the area. Are there any linons approaching? When you meet a stranger, look at the face first. What's he up to? Then look down for to see what's in his hands.

I lately mainly shoot woods. Always in horizontal orientation. As soon as I deviate from that, I experience the result as a portrait of a tree. Many exceptions granted, but it makes me wonder to what extent the horizontal format defines the picture is a landscape.

Iza Korwel

Very interesting exercise, indeed. I just looked at my archive LR catalog for last 5 years (excluding current) and at the current- the ratio is quite similar, close to 4.5. Comparing to most of the above (approx. 3), I guess I am not turning my camera around as often as I should. Good to know...

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