1 Aug 2013

Breaking the Photography Rules Part 4 - Shooting Landscapes in Portrait Orientation (& Vice Versa)

Landscape orientation is called that for a reason; most photographs of landscapes are shot in the landscape format, as this is the best way to fit in a wide sweeping view of a landscape, usually with a swathe of sky above. Sometimes, though, shooting landscapes in portrait orientation (ie. vertically) works very well. It can be used to provide interesting layering where the landscape changes, where there's something interesting in the foregound, it can highlight unusual features and patterns, it can provide room for a feature such as a river to flow towards you and it can allow you to include more of the sky. Sometimes it can just help with better composition overall, where a landscape orientation just doesn't do it.

Here's a few of my own examples of where I think the portrait orientation really works:

Similarly, portrait orientation is called that for a reason too. Most photographs you see of people are taken in portrait mode, with the head showing as well as a small amount of the neck, chest and shoulders. Sometimes, though, I think that portraits of people (and dogs) look great in landscape orientation (ie. horizontal). It can give the person somewhere to look, it can show depth, it can accentuate the features (especially the eyes if you get in closer), it can include a bit of atmosphere in the background and it can work if a bit more of the body is shown. Here's a few examples:



See also: Part 1 - Go Out in the Midday Sun
                Part 2 - Ignore the Thirds Rule of Composition
                Part 3 - Turn it Upside-Down! 
                Part 5 - Playing with the Zoom
                Part 6 - Shooting Out of Focus


  1. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I love landscapes photographed as verticals. Maybe because it's unexpected, maybe because for me it's just more natural, maybe it's simply because I like to see more sky.

  2. Great photographers know when to break all rules to get interesting and unique photos. I have a photography blog where I explained about Sunny 16 Rule.

    I think this will be helpful for the readers.