Comparing Portrait and Landscape Orientation Views

Portrait and landscape are the two main orientation views used in photography.   The portrait has the vertical look with the longer sides being taller than the top and bottom of the photograph and is often used for a single portrait of an individual.  A portrait view is often the preferred one used for magazine covers. The size of the portrait orientation photograph can be as small as a wallet photograph, or full size (often either a 5×7 or 8×10, or larger). The landscape view has the top and bottom of the photograph being longer than the sides and is often used in landscape photography. Landscape view is often used when creating photographs of landscapes, groups, and other other subjects.  Often this view is seen inside of magazines and may be a half page or smaller in size.  Portrait and landscape orientations both show unique differences and can be used on the same subject.

The two photographs in this blog entry are of the same scene and were taken within a few minutes of each other. The first photograph below shows the scene in the portrait orientation view.

A low fog is slowly moving behind Smiley Slough near Plains, Montana.

A low fog is slowly moving behind Smiley Slough near Plains, Montana.

Notice how the top and bottom of the photograph are shorter in length than the sides.  The landscape orientation view photograph below is of the same scene taken within minutes and gives you a slightly wider view.

A low fog is behind Smiley Slough near Plains, Montana.

A low fog is slowly behind Smiley Slough near Plains, Montana.

Notice how the landscape orientation view has the top and bottom longer in length than the sides.

When comparing the two photographs here you can see that there are some differences in how much of the scene was captured.  The landscape view photograph shows more of the fog, land, and water, while the portrait view photograph shows more of the sky and less land and water.  For both of these photographs I used the same lens (a Canon 18-55mm IS 3.5-5.6) that was handheld.  The main difference between the two photographs is the orientation of the camera.  The focal length of the lens; the portrait view photograph was taken at 37mm and the landscape view was taken at 44mm.  The camera was a Canon Rebel XS with the settings for both photographs as follows; ISO was 200, the fstop was set at f8.0, with the white balance at cloudy, the program mode was Aperature Priority, and no flash was used. I used Canon Digital Photo Professional and Picasa software to process both of the photographs in this blog entry.

Which view do you prefer and appears to be best, portrait or landscape?  Are you photographing all of your subjects in only one view orientation, or have you tried to photograph them in both?  How often do you photograph a landscape in portrait view?  Do you think the portrait view should be limited or used  mainly when creating portraits, magazine covers, and wallet sized photos?  Are there other uses for the portrait orientation view of a photograph?

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About Douglas Wilks Photography

I am an advanced photographer who lives in western Montana. I create a variety of strong images using a DSLR, computer, and digital software. I am available for hire for full time, part time, or projects. Most of my images are of landscapes, still life, and events. I am always looking to improve my skills, network of friends and professionals, and portfolio. I look forward to creating new friends, contacts, and others who are interested in photography.
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