Sideways on

I've just done a very quick skim through a random collection of online photographs from different photographers, using the keyword 'castle'.

Interesting. There are approximately 3 times as many images in the conventional 'landscape' format as there are in the upright 'portrait' format.

It seems that a lot of people don't realise that you can turn your camera on its side to take pictures ... either that, or they're scared to. Or are they just lazy? I don't know.

But it's strange. You'd think that something like a castle lends itself to the upright format.

Why did I do this little survey? Because I’ve just found one of my my images of the Ch√Ęteau de Chillon being used for the front cover of a magazine aimed at very rich Chinese ...


It's not the same image as I discussed two posts ago (here). Yes, it was taken at the same time, but as I photographed the castle and the darkening sky I regularly turned the camera from vertical to horizontal and back again. I got a whole load of images in both formats.

There were good reasons for doing that. The main one was that the majority of magazines are produced in the 'portrait' format and you greatly increase your chances of a cover sale if you have a photograph that fits.

On top of that, the 'portrait' format often fits better in to text too, especially if the text is in columns.

And, finally, because there are fewer photographs in this format the competition is less tough.

Remember ... you can turn your camera on its side and photograph landscapes in portrait format if you want.

And you can take portraits in landscape format too.

7 comments:

Catherine Nelson-Pollard said...

Funny thing is, so many of my pics are vertical, not horizontal. Completely opposite to most folk I know but it feels more comfortable that way...

Mighty Mom said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere! You were missed.

Alistair Scott said...

Hey Catherine, you've got a good habit there! I checked on one of the UK's largest agencies - which has some pretty high-flying commercial photographers on their books (including me :-) ) - and the ratio of horizontal to vertical was about 3:1. Same as on Flickr.

Interesting. I must do a survey of my habits. See if I'm practicing what I preach.

Alistair Scott said...

Hi Mighty Mom. Thanks. I've been up to my eyes doing and re-doing some photos for the forthcoming book of mine, and getting them off to the publisher. On top of that I'm trying to push my most productive portfolio to over 2'000 images, and I got myself a new camera body which I'm learning how to use. More of that later.

Livia said...

I see you are in the market for a new camera body. I'm in the process of researching a new DSLR, and read that Getty Images (as well as other stock agencies) only accept images taken with certain cameras. How can they do that , and why do they require that? How will they ever know? Is it humanly possible to tell the difference in the final product?

Alistair Scott said...

I've actually got a new camera body ... more of that later ... and am busy learning how it works.

It's not strictly true to say that agencies like Getty only accept images taken with certain cameras. A far as I'm aware they're not bothered by the type or brand of camera that you use. What they are concerned about are the technical specifications they set, in particular the size of the image. And only certain cameras can produce images to their specifications.

How do they know what camera you use?

Good question and a subject for a future post. But, basically they can tell from the image size, quality and the metadata saved with the image. You may not realise it, but every time you take a photograph with a digital camera the camera saves a load of information with the picture - including time, date, the make of camera, lens settings, shutter speed, etc. etc. All this can be easily read (and, also, as far as I am aware, is not easy to hide).

But it isn't just elitism ... favouring those who can afford top-range models. There are visible differences. I'll deal with them in a later post.

Livia said...

Thanks Alistair for the clarification on the Getty Images camera question. Will look forward to further discussion on the subject at a later date. I also wanted to say that this photo is absolutely gorgeous and deserves to be on a magazine cover. I visited the castle just a few weeks ago, but it was no way as beautiful as you have captured it.