« The Remarkable Persistence of 24x36 | Main | People News I: Pete Souza »

Thursday, 04 October 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I also prefer the 4:3 aspect ratio of 645, but I have never loved Micro Four Thirds. I use a GH5 for video, and while it is a formidable still camera, I just miss the rendering of larger formats. I really don't shoot anything smaller that full-frame. The Fuji GFX series is tempting, but I just can't get myself to spend that kind of money if I can just shoot film when I want bigger negatives.

For some reason, I love 4:5.

I like working in a rectangle rather than a square, because I like using the height/width difference in framing. Square never felt natural. But 2:3 feels a little too extreme (though sometimes it's just right).

4:5 feels classic. It reminds me of great 8x10 and 4x5 camera images.

Even though I shoot in 2:3, I find myself cropping to 4:5 at times.

Moving from 3:2 to 4:3 was hard for me. A year later, things have flipped and my old 3:2 pictures seem undisciplined and sloppy by comparison. Someone will be able to cite the relevant psychology papers to explain, no doubt. (Something to do with convincing myself that I made the right choice? I suspect that’s it but 4:3 feels *so* right at the moment!)

5x7 is pretty good, yes, but 1:1 is God's format. Right?

Yup, microFourThirds is exactly mini-645 - same aspect, same better portability than bigger format.

I find myself shooting with whatever the camera aspect ratio is. Sometimes this is more natural for me – I prefer squares and 2:3 rectangles over the 4:5 ratio of my 8x10 – but trying to previsualize a crop is not something I excel at very much. That proved problematic for me in the past when I actually tried to do some portraiture/wedding work with a friend. No matter how much he stressed that these clients are going to buy 8x10s and that I need to leave room to crop, I always kept composing for the 2:3 ratio of my camera. Thankfully, I soon learned that I am not a portrait/wedding photographer and that has freed me to compose to the aspect ratio of whatever it is I’m using.

I also forgot to mention that I find myself liking 16:9 the most of any rectangular aspect ratio that I’ve ever used. When I had a Panasonic point and shoot, I always found myself using the 16:9 option on their multi aspect ratio camera.

I'm right there with you on 6x4.5. I tried 645 backs for Hassleblad (bulky as a set-up), a Fuji (didn't focus close enough), and so on. Close second is the square, but it is more of a flirtation than a serious commitment. I default to the 35mm rectangle, just because that is what so, so many of my cameras produce.

The reason I loved 5x7 was an odd one: it was the smallest format that I felt didn't need an enlarger to enjoy. There was an appealing simplicity to that.

[Ooof. I just folded and unfolded a 5x7 sitting behind me on the shelf. That was the downside: almost as large as an 8x10, and just as difficult to lug around. Dang thing has been sitting on the shelf behind me for 13 years and I haven't made a single exposure with it since moving to this house. Depressing. Beautiful, but depressing.]

The thing that I find interesting about the current trend is that a lens projects a cone of light from an aperture. If a camera allows coverage of the long horizontal dimension of 35mm, it would also cover the vertical in that dimension . . . just sayin'.

Good question. I like 3:2 ratio because that’s the one I used the most. Like you, I also liked to print full frame with a black margin, a la HCB, so I ordered a 25x37 carrier from Leica New Jersey once. After a few tests I realized one of the anti newton glass sufaces was damaged. As much as I tried to clean it, there was always a spot in the prints. I contacted Leica about this and they told me that they were going to send the only one they had left as a replacement and that I could keep the first one if I wanted to. Which of course I did. Around that time I saw two guys trying to outbid each other on EBay for a used one of those. The winner paid around 700 Dollars for it. I paid 150.00 new from Leica for mine.

I have a favourite print size which is 5x7. That lead me to watch the width when shooting 'full-frame'. Now I'm shooting 4:3 I have to allow a little extra room top and bottom. Myself, I've never found making the allowance a problem.

I love looking at square portraits in black and white. Hmm, now there's a thought, maybe I should try that ratio for myself.

On aspect ratios, I think people can be broadly divided into two camps.
(1) Some people think that each photograph has an ideal aspect ratio, and they will crop whatever format they are using to get to that aspect ratio. I think some of these people are good enough at pre-visualisation to see the final aspect ratio at the time they make the picture, while others see it during post-processing (whether in a darkroom or digital setting). Cropping for this group is simply an important tool in the toolbox.
(2) Other people have a strong preference for a certain aspect ratio, and use cameras that have it, or they don't care much. Importantly though, these folks shoot for whatever aspect ratio they are using. They tend to be crop-averse.

Cutting across both groups is a separate issue: a preference for one orientation or another. Some people have no preference whatsoever, and use the one that matches the composition they have in mind. Other people tend to be predominantly portrait or landscape (perhaps depending on the type of picture).

I'm definitely in the second camp regarding aspect ratios. I've used many, and am quite comfortable with 3:2. I shoot for the frame, and cropping actually bothers me. It doesn't make sense, but if I have to crop a picture I feel like it's because I'm fixing a mistake (not shooting it right in the first place).

On orientation, I just like portrait a lot even for pictures that are usually considered "wrong" for that orientation, e.g., landscapes. There's something about vertical flows that I like and seek in pictures.

I've shot 35mm, 6x6 and 645, and am now usiing an m4/3 camera with a 'native' 645/4:3 ratio

I like the 4:3 ratio, especially for verticals (3:4?) (though I sometimes slightly crop to a 5:4.

However, it sort of bothers me that the viewfinder and rear screen are optimized for a full-with 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratio. When displaying 4:3, there are black bars on the sides of the viewfinder, which makes me feel that I'm somehow missing out on width.

If I change the aspect ratio to a wider one that fills the viewfinder from edge-to-edge, I feel like I'm composing wider, even though the horizontal angle of view remains unchanged (since the camera only crops off the top and bottom). An interesting optical illusion/psychological effect.

Like you, I'd rather compose to the viewfinder view. Long live the EVF!

I used a Pentax 645 for a while and loved it: relatively compact with sharp lenses. Alas sold it to fund a Linhof 617 that i used to film a book .

Re: 4/3 and 645:
Perhaps what puts you off is that the typical 645 camera was taking vertical images, whereas MFT cameras are generally horizontal.

Congratulations on the reaction to your book excerpt. I can't wait for the the book to be published.

On the subject of aspect ratios, I was recently on a hike in Utah's beautiful Bryce Canyon with 12 other guys. I was the only one with a conventional camera. Everyone else had iPhones and they were madly using the Panorama function to capture the fantastic vista's. For landscapes, apparently wider is better.

In my event photography practice, I take a lot of small groups and semm to always crop to 4x3. It just seems more natural than 3x2.

I really like the 4:3 aspect ratio. My first few digital cameras had this aspect ratio and I got used to it. When I "moved up" to a Nikon DSLR, I found the 3:2 jarring, even though I had shot lots of 35mm film before the digital age. The problem with 4:3 is printing. For awhile, at least one big photofinisher in Canada (Black's Cameras, a chain now defunct) offered 6x8 inch prints and photobooks, but I can't find that anywhere else. Today I shoot a lot of medium and large format film for myself. When I first moved from a Bronica ETRSi with 6x4.5 cm to a Bronica SQ-A with 6x6 cm, it was to avoid tilting the camera for verticals, andI planned to crop most of the square shots. In fact, I found myself composing to fill the square viewfinder and I now have lots of square images. I'm finding the 4x5 format just a little too square-ish. I think 4:3 is just right, and it's a shame there is no standard print size it fits.

First, it did feel like the grand web like the late 90's, early 00's, where we shared and built big glorious things because were were all excited by a thing and wanted other folks to be, too. Very much looking forward to the work from whence it came.

Second, re: slow lenses on 645, YES! Moving from the 2.8 6x6 or 6x7 lenses to the slower 645 ones never made sense to me. I was hoping for a faster lens for the Bronica 645 - delta 3200 and a fast 645 RF would have been so great.

Instead, I defied physics shooting my Kiev 60 and later Pentax 67 handheld down to a 30/sec...which worked to about 8x10:)

(But, it did let me find that 6x7 was indeed my 'preferred rectangle', so there's that)

I've always used Nikon, and so 3:2. The funny thing is that the 3:2 aspect ratio never really moved me one way or the other until I started printing at home (inspired by this web site). That changed everything for me, and long story short I find myself consistently cropping the verticals to a 4:3 aspect ratio which is more pleasing to my eye in printed form.

Sometimes I frame the image nicely in the viewfinder, and for those times I just print 3:2 and not worry about it, but 90% these days that I print are 4:3. Part of this is printer paper, I use 8.5x11 and 11x14 and the 4:3 ratio looks much better on those papers. Especially in "portrait" orientation. (Another thing is my iPhone 8 Plus camera is also 4:3, so maybe I'm just more used to that aspect ratio, and maybe Apple knows what they're doing too, maybe).

I would suppose a potential advantage of a mirrorless camera would be the ability to shoot in 4:3 aspect ratio regardless of the shape of the sensor. Being able to select aspect ratios in-camera and view that way via the viewfinder and/or LCD would be a nice feature.

I think 5:4 is my favorite, which is ironic because the closest I've come to having a camera that made 5:4 photos was a Rapid Omega 100 (a wonderful beast of a 6x7 medium format rangefinder camera), that I shot two test rolls with, which revealed that there was something wrong with the back, so it got sent back to the seller.

I'll happily use 4:3 instead; one of the reasons I am a content MFT shooter.

Now, I can use square, but I dislike 3:2 (don't get me started on 16:9) for most purposes. For street-like shooting with a wide angle lens, I'm OK with 3:2, though. Which is why I could imagine living with a camera with a fixed 35mm-e lens that has a 3:2 sensor with the option of 5:4 crop. 5:4 crop most of the time, making the lens ≈40mm-e, and then when I feel like I need a wide angle lens, I switch to using the full sensor.

I'm not dogmatic with regards to cropping, but I mostly stick to "corrective" cropping myself; rotate the photo if needed and then maybe tighten the frame if there's some disturbances around the edges. But even if I do a relatively heavy crop, I tend to keep it in the aspect ratio I shot it in (as in, the one I see in the viewfinder). Just tends to feel more natural somehow.

However, I would like an option on my EVF equipped camera to NOT get 100% coverage in the viewfinder. Just a slightly tighter viewfinder image and then I can do a bit of "corrective" cropping if I need to. Are you listening, Panasonic?

Our aural and visual perceptions have strong similarities in the basic math of the harmonic series (1,2,3,4,5,...).
For example:
2:1 is a musical octave;
3:2 is a perfect fifth as well as a "Full Frame";
4:3 is a perfect fourth as well as a key aspect ratio;
5:4 is a major third and a popular sheet-film size;
6:5 is a minor third but not a common aspect ratio; but
6:4 = 3:2 and we've come full circle.
Also worth noting is that the geometrical mean of 3:2 and 4:3 is 1.414.., the aspect ratio of metric paper and close to your once favorite 7:5 = 1.4 aspect ratio.

When I think back on aspect ratios I’ve used, it seems that other factors directed my choice rather than me using a favorite. When I first started in digital I was very focused on making prints of my favorite images but had little money and only a Letter sized photo printer. As a result I almost always cropped to 7:5 so that I could create 5x7 greeting cards. It was a sensible (cheap) approach that yielded prints I could easily share with friends and family. Surprisingly, these ‘old’ dye based prints made on inexpensive little Canon printer’s still look great...at least the copies stored in Itoya portfolios do.

Now that I'm older and use an A3+ printer, I tend to stay with the aspect ratio of my DSLR. It seldom occurs to me to crop to another aspect ratio. On occasion I will use 1:1 or maybe 5:4 if I’m making an 8x10 for someone. I really need to get back to the habit of printing all my favorite images.

On my phone I do find myself cropping to ratios (1:1, and 16:9) other than that of the 4:3 sensor. If I had to pick a favorite…I guess I’d go with 7:5 for old times’ sake.

Using 4:3 (µ43rds), but loving 5:4

As the late Michael Reichmann said, "The manufacturer of my camera has no right in the world to dictate to me the aspect ratio of my photographs".

PS: I too love the 5:7 aspect ratio. The 2:3 ratio of 35mm enlarges to 5 x 7.5 so you wouldn't think there'd be much difference, yet there is.

I have experimented quite a lot with aspect ratios. Horizontally I find I prefer the golden rectangle, which is wider than any common print. Vertically I like 4:5. I've always struggled composing for the square, but I like seeing other people's work in it.

I have always wanted to do a large-scale public experiment on the Internet, where people pick their favorite black rectangles (one landscape, one portrait) on a white field. However, with my own experimentation, I've found that the shape of the white field and the relative sizes of the rectangles to the field affect my perception. There's also the thorny question of how to size the black rectangles -- do they have equal long edges, equal short edges, equal area, ... Seems like a remarkably difficult experiment to conduct well; too many variables to control.

I don't mind cropping, and I do it very often but, curiously enough I almost always respect fixed aspect ratios.

The 4:3 ratio is reason enough to avoid micro 4/3 cameras in general. There aren't many things in life I hate more than 4:3.

2:3, 16:9 or cinemascope, sometimes square. But definitely no 4:3

Aspect ratio is one thing and orientation is another. Maybe that's why you favoured 645 which is/was naturally vertical (in the cameras at the time) over todays horizontal 4/3 ?

[I think you're right. --Mike]

Long ago Ad-Ams filed-out their negative carriers to show the edge. This didn't do anything to cure bad composition. Although the black edge was a good clue that they were proud of their questionable vision (not-a-pun) Urban myths are fun to debunk. Here's HCBs uncropped puddle jumper https://bit.ly/2IDXtaS

For the printed page 1.5:1 was often cropped at the sides to 1.2:1 (4x5). For a double truck you usually needed to crop the top to fit.

The best thing about 6x6 is that you, your editor, etc can decide on the crop at a later date. horizontal, vertical, maybe a dutch angle in 1.2:1, 1.5:1, 1.77:1, etc ratio.

During 1960 I learned that there was a right way, a wrong way and the Army way. Feel free to substitute my, boss, client, wife, etc for Army.

I don't have a favorite aspect ratio - I agree, at least based on my own experience, that photographers can adapt. I've been shooting 2:3 for 30+ years, dabbled with square (6x6) and when I experimented with shooting for square crops for a little project, I loved it. I'm comfortable with wide horizontals and shorter verticals, but I think you (can) just end up composing for whatever you're using, so I've seen great 4:3 horizontals and 16:9 verticals as well. I think that if I were to switch from APS-C to m43, I'd probably adapt, rather than crop, except when needed (and I crop APS-C now as suits the photo).

I have a Bronica ETRSi and a couple of lenses in my safe. Nice camera, the handling is greatly improved by the motor drive, or power winder as it was probably officially named. I did a huge amount of work with just the standard 75mm. Combined with the format it seemed to be enormously versatile. I remember the Pentax 645 too, a nice compact alternative I would have been equally happy with. Though I don't care for the 35mm ratio, all through my career I have never cropped a single image, not once. Shooting tranny that wasn't an option, as a black and white newspaper photographer we printed the whole frame for speed and digitally you couldn't crop in the early days anyway so I just never got into the habit. Get it right in camera or go home. Someone else is likely going to crop it downstream anyway.

After 50 plus years of taking pictures I have tried to evolve a discipline of thinking about Subject, Perspective and Context as I choose what to photograph. I think to be a great photograph all three of these need to be interesting... and managed correctly. In my photographs that is usually aided buy the extra potential for context available in wider aspect ratios... 36x24 for environmental portraits and 16x9 for landscapes. All that said, a disproportionate number of my best photographs were made on Rolleiflexes at 6x6 where there is a different dynamic... the composition doesn't "tell" you how to think about context... you are free to see it in whatever way you find it. Certainly we can all find great photographs in any ratio. When I was young I once experimented with 6x6 held at and angle so the prints would be diamond shaped. Even that can work.

They used to call it 'Edge Control' -paying attention to all four edges of the frame you were shooting.
By volume I have shot mostly with 35mm 2:3 cameras and Hasselblad 1:1 cameras, I also owned and used 4x5, 5x7,8x10, 8x20 and 11x14.
In the view cameras I was partial to 5x7 .
I also filed out my negative carriers for the black line so was in the habit of using the whole frame.
But I travelled through Europe several times with Just a Nikon F3 and a Hasselblad SWC 903, in the same bag. I switched between them without a thought, --just framed the pictures differently
It seems like an odd pair to like, but I like both of them.
I also fondly remember Ernst Wildi's 'Hasselblad Manuals, and other books he wrote on composing for squares.
There are however, times when I shoot with a crop in mind, --see the picture & can't quite get there to use the whole frame.

Now in our event business the rule is shoot a little lose, and crop later. The reason is that you are shooting rapidly and reacting spontaneously, you need to leave a little room to straighten the horizon and not lose anyone. The second reason is that you are capturing emotion, and moments your attention needs to be on people rather than perfect composition. If you have time, great, we use tripods for lots of shots, but the pictures that are most meaningful (to the people buying the pictures) are those unexpected moments that tell the story.
Shooting slightly lose is actually difficult to get used to -I'm not talking about sloppy just enough room. Also there may be layout proportion concerns too where this helps.

Proportion is important! For me, it's square or 5:4 ideally and I like to compose for the frame, so I prefer cameras that allow me to mask the viewfinder in as many aspect ratios as possible. Unfortunately none of the manufacturers seems to like 5:4 these days except Nikon and I believe Fuji with the GFX (but not X, go figure). Sigma also offers some not typical aspect ratios such as 7:6 and once upon a time, Olympus offered just about every aspect ratio you could want in the E30, including 6:5 and 7:5, then promptly changed their mind.

One nice bonus that results from working with an external HDMI monitor attached to my camera -- in my case, a 12.5" Lilliput A12 -- it that it offers the ability to superimpose framelines for several different formats on top of the 3:2 signal output by the camera.

That said, for a lot of my architectural related photography, I find the 3:2 format works quite well. For other types of photography, I confess to being partial to the 1:1 square format.

I marvel at how well some photographers -- Gerry Johansson, for example -- can make the square format visually sing!

My preference is for 4:3, but that's probably a result of using it for the past decade. I don't recall it being a big thing to adapt to begin with though. I just compose based on the view in the finder.

I've never been big on cropping ( maybe I was just reluctant to lose the pixels), but I was given a digital photo frame last Christmas which has an aspect ratio closer to 16:9, and I've found a lot of images work pretty well when cropped down to fit. Who knew?

I rarely crop regardless which format I photograph with. I really do love the XPan format, but the square is good too....

I don't really care about aspect ratios other than to say I'm not a
particularly big fan of 4:3 or square. I pretty much crop every photo I take in a custom aspect ratio, but if I had to pick one, I'd say 16:9.

There! How's that for being a gadfly? I'm left-handed, so that's my excuse. ;-)

I like many others have found this post to be of special interest. I am retired from a life that was mostly like Mike's: interests in both photography and music. I as many retired guys have spent time reflecting on my work, photographically in particular.Reading this has made me able to account for my differences from many photographers.

I started out in college in the late sixties shooting mostly 35mm, as did almost everyone. On one hand, I learned the value of filling the frame in a time where films were less advanced and while you could get a little loose with even 6x6, the smaller real estate with 35 required using the most of the frame possible. On the other hand, as my first experiences were shooting for a college newspaper, I became familiar with cropping as an essential for publication, as the aspect ratios were totally different. A portrait/wedding photographer was locked into 8x10 whereas in publication the aspect ratio was whatever got the job done. As I advanced, I shot a lot of 35, but as my career advanced I felt the need to shoot something larger, so I got a Hasselblad. For years I had only A12 backs, 6x6, and found how perfect the square was for the flexibility needed for publication. As my career advanced, I found myself not only doing photography, but layout as well. That's when I became format agnostic.

Ironnically in my personal work, I jumped off the deep end. I often shot and printed square, but I then fell victim to the siren song of the Hasselblad (Fuji) xPan, and shot a lot of panoramas. I saw work from great landscape photographers that used not wide angle, but rather short teles to produce remarkable work, so I went through a phase of shooting landscapes on 35mm with 135mm lens. As I did with film, as I got into digital, I got into the habit of always having a "pocket" camera for travel, and snapped up a Panasonic LX-2, which has a native 16:9 sensor. I don't adjust the ratio in camera, but simply crop as needed.

As I see posts from so called photographers who hate certain cameras because they "can't print the full frame on 8x10 paper," I feel sorry for them for not having the vision to crop or the ability to get paper in other sizes.

The future I see for digital is for manufacturing processes to advance to the point that sensors can be made larger economically and the ubiquity of 35FF will be replaced by 645FF. I anxiously await it.

But I also anxiously await Fuji producing a digital xPan, and I don't think I'll live long enough to see it either.

Rod Planck, nature photographer extraordinaire and a great workshop teacher, describes the standard 35 mm as "a little pano", or almost panoramic. That strikes me as exactly right. It's assertively rectangular, rather than almost square, like 4x5", and therefore it imposes a particular way of seeing on photographs. I was trained to use every square millimeter of the frame, composing very tightly and almost never cropping.
This became a problem for me when I started serious landscape painting. A painting can be any aspect ratio you want if you start with raw canvas, from square to long panoramic. But the standard panel and frame sizes for smaller paintings (8x10", 11x14", 14x18", 16x20"...) all tend to be closer to square than the 35 mm standard photographic frame. 12x16" is longer, but still noticeably less rectangular. I was so wedded to the 35 mm way of seeing, I kept screwing up the perspective on (say) 11x14" paintings, distorting the picture I saw to fit the frame. It took me nearly 3 years to stop doing that, and I had to use an adjustable viewfinder frame to see things accurately.

When creating wedding images I try to crop to common paper sizes that I know my clients will want printed. The vast majority of images end up as 2:3 to be printed as 4x6s, but some of the more planned or posed portraits end up as 4:5 to be printed as 8x10s. As much as I love seeing big wall prints, that's just not what most of the images end up as.

Keep doin' what you're doin' Mike -- I was introduced to the site many years ago through a link (or Google result, can't remember) and still check in from time to time.

Big traffic hits through link-shares are random as hell, but thoughtful interesting pieces like this still drive repeat traffic in the long term.

My guess is that your depth of knowledge of traditional photography is what differentiates you from the bulk of the horde of photobloggers; it's what keeps me checkin' in, anyhow.

There have always been different "native" aspect ratios depending on the kind of work you do.

In the good old days: 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20 and so on.

Magazine pre-press was different.

Then ink jet printers came along with their own paper sizes . . .4x6, 8.5x11, A4 etc.

I think it matters a little less in the age of digital. But I miss the flair of printing to the black edge of the negative, decried as an affectation tho' it may have been.

When I shot 645 film, I always cropped it after the fact -- either down to 4:5 for verticals or 3:2 for horizontals. Either way, I tended to think of is a 35mm+. I shot with a Mamiya 645e, at least until "full-frame" digital overtook its quality.

I still tend to shoot in 4:5 for vertical, and some kind of elongated rectangle for horizontals. Stitched panoramics somewhere in the neighborhood of 16:9 or 3:1.

Hi Mike, quick line to echo comments from Rob de Loe and SteveW. I’m not wedded to a particular aspect ratio, although shooting a Nikon means I’m in 3:2. I find it comfortable in landscape orientation, but won’t hesitate to crop edges a little if I feel it improves composition. But for portrait orientation, I find it too long & narrow, and so find myself composing to allow for cropping to something closer to 4:3.
If it’s all for art or our own pleasure, then there are no wrong answers, just personal preferences for what works.

5x7 is very nice to work with. A negative large enough for contact printing and an image close to enlarged 35mm framing which makes it an easier transition to Large Format for those who grew up on 35mm film.
Add in the cameras are not much larger than 4x5 and feel way smaller than 8x10 and you have a comfortable size to work with.
As for 6x6 and the Square. Hasselblad spent decades working to convince us "God created the Square - and it was good" and then they trashed their legacy with 645 digital. Shame on them.
Loved photographing weddings with the Hasselblad. Square proof books. No horizontal or vertical pages to get mixed up. You could crop either way. The square books were easy to put together and always looked nice,
Square prints have their own esthetic and in most any type frame look good.

My ultimate goal in photography is a matted and framed b/w print. I am a rather rational person so I want my prints to have the same width to hight proportion irrespective of what size they are. American size papers would make me go crazy. Luckily enough paper sizes here in Europe are more standardized than in the US. Here A4 papers are half the size of A3 papers; A5 papers are half the size of A4 and so on. They are all the same proportion: 1 to the square root of 2. Or 1 to 1.414 to state it differently.

I shoot 24x36 mm and have done so for half a century, at least. I have always found prints with the 2:3 ratio being too long. But 2 to 2.8 is fine. And that gives me a bit of cropping space left and right where I need it more than top and bottom (on "horizontal" prints). That cropping has become a second nature and I take it into account before I press the button.

I never understood the thing about not cropping. Nobody can tell me they were always standing in exactly the right spot for their best photos, and cropping often amounts to nothing more than taking a few steps forward, and sometimes making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. And if you think of photography as a process, from snapping the picture to producing a final product, then cropping is simply another part of the process. I will say that I try to do the best I can inside the image frame, and my most-used cropping tool in Lightroom is the one that levels the photo and makes it flat with the horizon. That's rarely much of a crop, just a few slivers on the edges.

I recommend Mack’s Ultra earplugs. I use them for sleeping when there’s noise.

Often find myself cropping to 5:4 or 16:9 when shooting 3:2(SLR) . But shooting 4:3(phone) i find I'm mostly going square.

@Josh- You're right that 1:1 is a very different mindset. I've no idea if you're already doing this; but to complement that reality, I usually use it photograph very different subject matter- a ying to my usual yang...

“Composing to the viewfinder view” is exactly why I liked the Panasonic LX100. I could select the best viewfinder view for the composition, rather than conform the composition to the viewfinder view.

It also helps that my favorite aspect ratio is 16x9, and cameras that shoot 16x9 natively are far and few between.

I started out on 43rds, advanced on 6x6 and back to micro 43rds. In the mix I have had 135 format cameras. But since I typically print 8x10, even though my printer can print to 12x19 directly. 4:3 is how I see the world. I also like 1:1, but I have never liked 3:2. Not even 4x6 prints.

Like Rob Campbell I loved shooting 6x6 on Haseselblad 500. However on digital cameras I hope they would always record whole sensor data and set selected aspect ratio only as metadata crop. Some cameras do this, others don't save the "extra" pixels if you have chosen say 1x1 format. For some reason I can't stand not to save all pixels, so I only use different aspect rations when all pixels are saved. I would love a square sensor though.

Count me amongst the 3:2 Othodox Evangelical Church of Right Thinking. My God, what is wrong with these people? Also I’ve always believed the Focomats should have come with the negative stages already ground out. (But then the black border on the print would have been too even, lacking the unevenness that contributed to the look of authenticity.). Which somehow reminded me of printing with a wet negative when you were tight on deadline. And that got me onto using nose oil to fill a negative scratch. (Amazingly good trick.) Ooh, ooh, then there was the times when you needed two football pictures for the bulldog edition but the engravers only had time to do one, so you’d use an exacto knife to cut (crop) the left side off one and the right side off the other so you could tape them together and engrave them to same enlargement. Now see what you’ve done?

Do artists limit themselves to using one aspect ratio for all their paintings? A simple question, but answers may not be so simple.

I must admit to paying little attention to aspect ratios. My first good camera was a Yashica A. Most everything shot was cropped to 8-10 in the darkroom. A Leica clone was soon added to the arsenal which lead to many years of shooting color slides almost exclusively, I quickly learned to compose to fill the frame which I still do. Now days with old habits my dslr shots are composed to the frame usually, but when it comes up on the screen to process anything that doesn’t add to the image gets whacked off aspect ratio be damned. Sometimes I even end up with a square. I make my own frames so that is no problem

I like 4:3. My real quirk though is probably that I shoot and display everything in that aspect ratio in landscape format only.

We now live in a horizontal world, taking in so much information off of a screen, screens that have gotten more horizontal over time. Not to mention that human eyesight tends to be horizontal.

And I think most photographs are displayed online in sets, from a few to many. I find the constant shifting of aspect ratios and from landscape to portrait very distracting as I move through a set of photographs. A "slide show" is sort of like a movie. Imagine a film that constantly changed aspect ratios and from horizontal to vertical formats and back.

This also imposes a form of discipline as I work to capture whatever I'm looking at in 4:3 landscape format.

I'll paraphrase David Vestal... "I let my pictures tell me what they want".

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007