Here’s why I think you should photograph vertically and some quick tips for successful upright image making.
Reason One: Verticals are Easy to LearnVertical composition using a wide angle or ultra-wide lens is the fast track to making interesting landscape images. My first successful landscapes were all vertical compositions where I found a moderately photogenic foreground object and used this to lead into the greater scene. To this day I find it easier to frame up an interesting sunset in the vertical format. I use rocks, grasses, flowers – just about anything with form to introduce the viewer’s eye to the scene.
Reason Three: Verticals Sell WellIn the introduction I polluted the artistic sanctity of the article by mentioning ‘commercial reasons’. Five years ago we made most of our living from selling postcards of our images – horizontal postcards vastly outsell vertical postcards, and they fit better on a display stand, so I found myself inadvertently locked into a horizontal mindset (as I mentioned last week, deep thought and self-awareness are not my strong point). This sales trend is definitely mirrored in our website where the bulk of our print sales are horizontal.
However, In the past year we have ramped up our stock photography activity and this is one area where vertical images sell extremely well – especially for editorial usage and magazine covers where the format works beautifully with the vertical layout of printed media. Consequently, we are shooting a lot more vertical images. You may not be a full-time photographer but there are myriad ways to earn money from your photographic hobby these days, don’t leave money on the table – shoot verticals along with your horizontal compositions.