Portrait vs Orientation Landscape - Shooting Sideways

Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
60
Location
Milton Keynes, UK
Real Name
Mike
Maybe this is wrong but I do get the impression that many more images are published in landscape orientation than in portrait.

Almost all cameras are held in landscape by default and you have to turn them in a slightly unnatural way to shoot in portrait.

If you enter a competition you are frequently constrained to certain maximum dimensions like 1600x1200 or 1400x1050 and to enter a portrait shot you have to accept reduced resolution by fitting to the smaller dimension.

When you look at photos on your monitor screen the max resolution they will be shown at will be reduced if they were taken in portrait mode. Unless you physically turn the screen 90 deg.

Consequently everything you display on the monitor using your browser, Lightroom, Photoshop and any other editors will tend to favour landscape mode pictures.

With prints isn't there a tendency to favour landscape mode too, even in fine art and old masters apart from actual portraits of people and even then there are sideways portraits including other distractions. Check out your local galleries and museums.

Does this matter? One of the side-effects seems to be the apparent need for a camera's rear screen to be able to be moved in any direction even though it affects only a tiny minority of pictures, with the result that the majority of pictures may be subject to the awkwardness of a screen off to one side of the axis. But that's just one of my little hobby-horses.

I like shooting all sorts of subjects in either mode according to what the subject is, even landscape views in portrait mode to get lots of foreground in and portraits in landscape mode to include something significant that relates to the subject like their family or their environment. About 25% of my images are portrait and less than 1% are square.

My current Benq monitor claims to automatically switch the display orientation when you swivel the monitor 90 deg, but unfortunately the software doesn't work.

So why do we persist in shooting sideways when the results are less likely to be appreciated?
 

oldracer

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
2,753
Location
USA
... So why do we persist in shooting sideways when the results are less likely to be appreciated?
I don't totally buy that premise. I just scanned through a couple of weeks' photo safari and found quite a few shots in portrait orientation. No surprise, many were wannabe portraits: people attending a Masai wedding, head shots of animals, a leopard in a tree with her kill, and (of course) giraffes. How many? I didn’t try to count but I'd guess over 10%. Definitely not a "tiny minority." A herd of elephants at a watering hole is a landscape shot, like it or not, as are many other shots having nothing to do with literal landscapes.

I think many repetitive perspectives tend to be encouraged by the equipment. In Olden Times when we were shooting Rolleis and Hassies, the term "umbilical perspective" was used a lot. Sports finders and pentaprisms helped a little bit but were uncommon.The Koni-Omega Rapid 6x7 was awkward to use in portrait orientation, though the Pentax 6x7 probably was not. In Modern times, most cameras are very poor for low angle shots/camera almost on the ground, and for high-angle shots with camera held at arm's length. That's why a fully articulated LCD is important to me and caused me to ditch my beloved Gx7s for the larger and clumsier GX8s. It's also why l like the tilting viewfinder on the GX8.

Obviously, YMMV.
 

doady

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
694
Location
Canada
I watched one of the recent videos by Keith Cooper and he mentioned that prints of landscape-oriented photos sell better than portrait-oriented ones. Of course, part of that is because landscape-oriented prints fill more wall space in the home. The vision from our eyes is landscape-oriented too, so maybe that also has something to do with it.

I think the occasional portrait-oriented photo is not about persistence, and maybe appealing to a wider audience is not that important. Aesthetically, sometimes portrait orientation just suits the subject or the scene better. Sometimes portrait feels more natural.

p3646286344-6.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


p2522217640-6.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

John M Flores

Super Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
3,349
Location
NJ
That may be changing as the most commonly-used viewing device - the phone - favors portrait orientation.
 

doady

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
694
Location
Canada
Maybe more portrait orientation for photos wouldn't be so bad, but hopefully vertical video never becomes the default.
 

Panolyman

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
2,486
Location
Wild West Wales
Real Name
Brian
I used to wonder why computer monitors were always (mostly?) landscape orientation (throwback to TV's? ) as surely the majority of usage originally was for spreadsheets and documents in portrait mode.
Or was that just my working practice?
 

JanW

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
248
Location
Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel, Netherlands
Real Name
Jan
I just checked my latest Landscape Photography Magazine and there are quite some images in portrait orientation. Of course landscape orientation is used more.
Could it be that the most used sensor (film) formats are more suited for landscape mode?
Most systems use 3:2 aspect ratio. I shoot a lot in portrait mode with my Olympus and Panasonic camera's. Some time ago I tried my brother in laws Fuji camera and the portrait view was much too narrow.
I think this is something we forget to appreciate in our m43 camera's!

Jan

P.s. I often view my photos on a tablet, no problems with orientation...
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2017
Messages
1,125
I went back and looked at some of my posts and it looks like I favor portrait quite a bit maybe 60% even for landscapes, its one thing that I do that I haven't really questioned it happens automatically when shooting, tbh I have the extended grip on my em5mkll with the shutter release, iso and speed all available in portrait which makes it a pleasure so that may be a factor. With my Pen-F it is awkward without that feature and the viewfinder doesn't encourage it if your right-handed but there are shots my brain just says portrait, do it!
 

ac12

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
3,734
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
For the human with two eyes side-by-side, you have a naturally horizontal format view.

Your point may be true for some.
But for me, I shoot whatever way I want to, and whatever fits the shoot.
Example when shooting basketball, most of my shots are/were vertical. It's just the nature of the subject.
In fact the yearbook basketball editor asked me to shoot some pics in horizontal, because her layout had horizontal picture boxes, not vertical.​
Although sometimes I shoot in H then crop for V. Example, when shooting FAST sports, I just shoot in H. As rotating the camera to switch from shot to shot is difficult, when seconds count. And when I am shooting on a monopod, I rarely rotate the camera, as it is a hassle to do, and then return it to level. The tripod collar does not have detents at 90 degree increments. I have to visually align it.

As for image format, I shoot and crop whatever way suits the scene/image.
In fact after getting a 6x6 camera, I started seeing more images that fit a SQUARE format. :biggrin:
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
3,683
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
I used to wonder why computer monitors were always (mostly?) landscape orientation (throwback to TV's? ) as surely the majority of usage originally was for spreadsheets and documents in portrait mode.
Or was that just my working practice?
All my monitors swivel into portrait mode when absolutely necessary.
 

Generationfourth

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
373
Most systems use 3:2 aspect ratio. I shoot a lot in portrait mode with my Olympus and Panasonic camera's. Some time ago I tried my brother in laws Fuji camera and the portrait view was much too narrow.
I think this is something we forget to appreciate in our m43 camera's!

With my first m43 (gf1) I shot 16:9 a lot because I liked the cinematic view, then I switched to 3:2 and it was stuck on that for years. Never took portraits because of how narrow it felt.

Now years later I've really come to appreciate the 4:3 aspect ratio and I'm more likely to take a portrait shot but it's still a very small percentage of my shots compared to landscape.
 

Armoured

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
197
Maybe this is wrong but I do get the impression that many more images are published in landscape orientation than in portrait.

Almost all cameras are held in landscape by default and you have to turn them in a slightly unnatural way to shoot in portrait.

Interestingly (to me, anyway) - the only mass production cameras I can think of that had a clear 'portrait by default' hold were .... the 35 mm half-frame cameras, of which Olympus Pen was the most prominent. It would be/should be possible to get a whole bunch of (original) Pen images and see what proportion of them were portrait orientation. My guess is that the portrait proportion would be higher than for regular 35mm but not the same as 35mm landscape-to-portrait (i.e. not the inverse) and landscape would still be more than half. In other words, that there may be an innate landscape orientation preference to human vision. Only a guess though.

I'm sure someone can correct and there are some other prominent examples I'm not thinking of. There are a few like the Zeiss Ikonta and its derivatives that I suppose might be argued, too - although I personally think of its vertical orientation mode as designed for being placed on a table, that wee leg under the lens door to support it. It was at least a bit more neutral than many other designs.

Actually a quick check is that the Russian Photocor/Fotocor plate cameras sold over a million copies, so I guess would be considered mass market. Probably there are others.

Another interesting thought: since there's no film-advance mechanism driving the landscape preference, perhaps a bit surprising that no enterprising camera company hasn't come out with a 'portrait orientation' digital camera. Sure, it'd be a niche product; and maybe it's just easier to sell an add-on grip for vertical orientation.

Or possibly camera makers are just very conservative and unwilling to risk it. Or, arguably, the people who buy cameras these days are conservative and want familiar shapes. (Speaking personally I absolutely did have greater interest in the OM-D MFT series because it looked and felt like the cameras I learned on. So maybe it's my fault).
 
Last edited:

John M Flores

Super Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
3,349
Location
NJ
I used to wonder why computer monitors were always (mostly?) landscape orientation (throwback to TV's? ) as surely the majority of usage originally was for spreadsheets and documents in portrait mode.
Or was that just my working practice?

Back when I was IT for an ad agency, I'd get the copywriters full page portrait displays. They loved me for it.

These days, I avoid laptops with 16:9 displays like the plague because they suck for writing

And on all of my computers, I move my taskbar to the right of the screen to increase vertical space. My next monitor (whenever that happens) will be a curved 30" 4K 100% AdobeRGB so that I can view two pages side by side comfortably.
 

WhidbeyLVR

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
2,616
Location
Whidbey Island
Real Name
Lyle
My next monitor (whenever that happens) will be a curved 30" 4K 100% AdobeRGB so that I can view two pages side by side comfortably.
Interesting. I don’t think I would ever choose a curved monitor for content creation because I want my straight lines to stay straight. Since I have switched to a large 16:9 4K monitor, I can comfortably work with portrait orientation windows two-abreast.
 

Armoured

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
197
Back when I was IT for an ad agency, I'd get the copywriters full page portrait displays. They loved me for it.

These days, I avoid laptops with 16:9 displays like the plague because they suck for writing

I found closest to perfect is one landscape + one portrait display. Problem for me/many is that writing/text is not the only task. But for full-time writers, definitely, vertical orientation.
 

DeeJayK

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
4,137
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
Real Name
Keith
For the human with two eyes side-by-side, you have a naturally horizontal format view.

This is really the main reason why landscape orientation is the default, in my estimation.

The normal human frame of vision is horizontal. I presume that's why film (and later digital sensors) on most cameras are oriented that way.
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom