Intervention Requested: My Habit Is Out of Control

Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
And by that I mean specifically my habit of framing photographs in portrait orientation. It happened gradually, subtly... I didn't realize it was becoming the norm for me until I pulled back and realized that, for most of my walking around snapshots, and much of my scenery, even some of my street shots... portrait orientation has become much more common for me than landscape. I even shoot landscapes this way, for crying out loud. Is there hope for me? Where can I find help?

On a (slightly more) serious note, how often do you shoot portrait versus landscape, and do you think about it, or care about it? I have noticed a trend for me to think compositionally much more in portrait than I used to. I don't know why. It's interesting, and I need to explore it more because I am hoping I'm not missing out on better composition just because something has become habitual.
 
Location
Florida
Name
Todd
Since I never shoot portraits I very rarely shoot in portrait mode. The one exception is if I am shooting a wide panoramic to stitch. It sounds a little counterintuitive to shoot a Pano in portrait but it gives me a lot of room to play with vertically when stitching. It just means a lot more shots to get that wide panoramic.

On the other side of things it just makes me nuts that cell phone shooters never think to shoot horizontally, at least when shooting video. I really hate watching news clips that people have shot vertically. For heavens sake, our eyes are next to each other not one on top of the other!
 
Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
It’s the dark side of smart phone photography. 😳
You know, I hadn't thought of that, but I don't think it is in my case. Whenever I use my smartphone for photos (which isn't very often) I hold it landscape orientation, even though it's more difficult. Unless it's just a snap at the grocery store to ask the wife "is this the cereal you wanted?"
 
Location
Switzerland
Name
Matt
And by that I mean specifically my habit of framing photographs in portrait orientation. It happened gradually, subtly... I didn't realize it was becoming the norm for me until I pulled back and realized that, for most of my walking around snapshots, and much of my scenery, even some of my street shots... portrait orientation has become much more common for me than landscape. I even shoot landscapes this way, for crying out loud. Is there hope for me? Where can I find help?

On a (slightly more) serious note, how often do you shoot portrait versus landscape, and do you think about it, or care about it? I have noticed a trend for me to think compositionally much more in portrait than I used to. I don't know why. It's interesting, and I need to explore it more because I am hoping I'm not missing out on better composition just because something has become habitual.
You know, this has been the norm for me for a long time already - and I couldn't really care less!? Use what comes naturally to you, that's it. I didn't notice any detrimental effects on your way of framing and seeing, so it's all good. Conventions can be so very trite and meaningless. Enjoy your photography!

I like everything from 2:1 to 1:1 to 2:3, depending on what I see; I let my eyes roam freely to pre-visualise and then get as close as I can to what I saw when taking the shot. That's it - format is mostly a practical decision, not something to do with style or other preconceived ideas.

Besides, my old 6x9 folders were all meant to be shot in portrait orientation and feel awkward when trying to use them in landscape orientation. So it's nothing but trends and habits we're talking about. To each their own, I'd say.

N.B. Before someone plays the "didn't I tell you" game: Since I'm absolutely not a smartphone shooter, it's not that, nor is it a viewing habit - because I don't look at images on my smartphone screen if I can avoid it. I just like most of my compositions better in portrait format.

M.
 
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Interesting post, Andrew - and interesting questions that you ask. They (your questions) made me think about how I tend to frame, which usually tends to be in landscape (horizontal) rather than portrait (vertical) mode. I know in my case, I am occasionally influenced (subconsciously, I'm certain, but influenced nonetheless) by studying photographs of photographers I love, or whose work blows me away. One of them is Alec Soth, who tends to work with 8 x 10 view cameras. As my own reaction to that, I've started occasionally experimenting more with different formats, including a perfectly square one. The differences may be subtle or non-apparent, but when I try to 'see' - or 'frame' - subjects with a square format, instead of my typical ones, sometimes I think (or I like to think) it lets me take some photographs in different ways. Not necessarily better ways, but at least different ones. Which makes me feel less like I'm getting caught or stuck in my own photographic 'ruts'.

I'm going to keep thinking about your questions though, Andrew. Truthfully, I don't have any real answers.
 
Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
Interesting post, Andrew - and interesting questions that you ask. They (your questions) made me think about how I tend to frame, which usually tends to be in landscape (horizontal) rather than portrait (vertical) mode. I know in my case, I am occasionally influenced (subconsciously, I'm certain, but influenced nonetheless) by studying photographs of photographers I love, or whose work blows me away. One of them is Alec Soth, who tends to work with 8 x 10 view cameras. As my own reaction to that, I've started occasionally experimenting more with different formats, including a perfectly square one. The differences may be subtle or non-apparent, but when I try to 'see' - or 'frame' - subjects with a square format, instead of my typical ones, sometimes I think (or I like to think) it lets me take some photographs in different ways. Not necessarily better ways, but at least different ones. Which makes me feel less like I'm getting caught or stuck in my own photographic 'ruts'.

I'm going to keep thinking about your questions though, Andrew. Truthfully, I don't have any real answers.
It's something I really don't think about much, because I think it's happening on a subconscious level. Sure, when I'm exploring composition with a scene, I will probably shoot both orientations. But if I'm just making a quick snap, or responding directly to something I see, I often make a subconscious decision about the composition before even bringing the viewfinder to my eye or framing with the LCD. In other words, I've seen in portrait orientation, before making conscious framing decisions, and because I've seen that way, I'm not reframing in landscape too often because the scene I picked out of the world is one that probably looks best in portrait.

This is perhaps not extraordinary, but I think in the past I've tended to see compositions in the world predominantly in landscape orientation, and I don't know why that changed.
 

davidzvi

Hall of Famer
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
I'm probably more landscape than portrait, but I rarely think about it. Most of the time it's probably just subconscious. It's actually rare for me to try both while framing.

I'll add that back when I shot events it was almost always landscape, but I wouldn't hesitate to crop portrait. I'd be looking at a face or reaction in between other unrelated subjects and just not bother to re-frame (sometimes there just wasn't tmie and I didn't want to risk missing the shot).
 

tilman

All-Pro
my ratio is probably 50:50 (maybe even skewed a bit towards portrait lately)

Landscape orientation is fine for me, if I have a landscape in front of me :)
But lately I'm finding myself often in places (lots of walks in residential neighbourhoods, rather than nature) where I only see a sliver of something I want to catch. Portrait orientation works better with that for me.

Also portrait orientation can give an image more depth - by including more (fore-)ground... ) - sort of giving you a half-frame "wide-angle" with a normal-ish lens...

Both aspects also work in combination sometimes...
 
Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
my ratio is probably 50:50 (maybe even skewed a bit towards portrait lately)

Landscape orientation is fine for me, if I have a landscape in front of me :)
But lately I'm finding myself often in places (lots of walks in residential neighbourhoods, rather than nature) where I only see a sliver of something I want to catch. Portrait orientation works better with that for me.

Also portrait orientation can give an image more depth - by including more (fore-)ground... ) - sort of giving you a half-frame "wide-angle" with a normal-ish lens...

Both aspects also work in combination sometimes...
You make some good points, and getting a tighter crop, or a "sliver" is something I specifically mentioned about shooting with the 28mm GR III. When using a wide angle, going portrait allowed me to have, in essence, a tighter frame than I could get in landscape - it just meant that I also had to consider the foreground/background elements above and below the main subject and try to fit that into the composition.
 
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