Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aspect Ratios

First off, I'm happy to report my 5D's sensor is resting and doing nicely after Dr. Jimmy took it into surgery today and performed a Dustbunnyoctomy. In other words, I cleaned the sensor and, as of this writing, that one, freaking, hideous, mutant, dust-bunny is gone. History! Not there! Morte!

If you're wondering what surgical tools I used to remove the grotesque tumor-on-my-sensor, I purchased the Eclipse products: Swab, Pec-Pads, Cleaning Fluid and all that. The whole procedure took less than a minute to complete.

Whew! I feel better already.

Anyway, aspect ratios...

As most of you already know, aspect ratio is the relationship of the width of an image to its height, i.e., of its horizontal to vertical dimensions: 3:2 and 2:3 are the most commonly-seen aspect ratios in still photography. That's because 35mm film and cameras are manufactured to produce 3:2 frames. For glamour photography, 2:3 seems to be the aspect ratio of choice for most shooters. We also call these aspect ratios "portrait" and "landscape."

Sometimes, I think the words "portrait" and "landscape" overly influence our choices as shooters. When shooting people, i.e., one person (which is what I mostly shoot), I generally and automatically hold my camera so as to capture in the portrait aspect ratio when I'm shooting. But later, in post, I often come across images that I wish I'd captured holding my camera in the landscape orientation. Sure, I can crop a shot from portrait to landscape in post, but if I captured in portrait, I'm probably going to lose elements of the image when I crop to landscape, that is, to 3:2... elements I would prefer to keep. That's mostly because I frame the shots fairly close to how they're going to end up. Yeah, I leave a little room around the perimeter but, for the most part, the framing doesn't end up that much different from the finished crop.

As I look at the glamour and other people-photography work of others, I'm always spotting images that seem so much more powerful because they're depicted in landscape ratio even though they seem as if it might be more usual to see similar pics in a portrait ratio. Using the landscape ratio also sometimes gives the shooter the opportunity to play around with the "rule of thirds" a bit more.

I guess what I'm saying is that, in the future, I'm going to try to remember to shoot more stuff with my camera oriented for landscape captures-- and I'm not just talking about when the model is lying down. I'll see if I end up happier with some of the images.

We're always supposed to be evolving, right? So, I think I'll evolve myself over to the landscape side... at least for some of the pretty girl stuff I shoot.

The model depicted in landscape mode is Laurie. I shot Laurie with a 10D over two years ago. Anyway, Laurie's lying down so that pic doesn't count in with what I wrote about.

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