Thursday’s Special

This week Paula encourages us to consider the differences between taking a landscape or portrait format. What factors make you decide which way to go? Is it the lens on your camera that forces you into a particular format, or are you making a more conscious decision about what it is you want to portray and what is the best way to do that? 

These two images are of the haunting bronze sculpture that I have featured before in black and white. The close-up landscape version(s) were deliberate compositions to focus on the detail of the women and children as they wait for their husbands and fathers to return from sea.The decision to take a portrait shot was based purely on the desire to capture the entire sculpture and show exactly how small these figures actually are.

I tend to take most of my photos in the landscape mode unless I am photographing something particularly tall like a building or a tree. Of course with editing software it is easy to change any photo into any size afterwards, so it is not always necessary to make the decision at the point of clicking the shutter. I think the most important decision you should make when taking that shot is whether you have thought about what it is you are trying to capture and have you considered carefully that this is the best composition. That helps you take a great shot rather than several mediocre ones when you simply ‘hope for the best’.

I am interested to hear your thoughts.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

40 thoughts on “Thursday’s Special”

  1. The two (well three really) shots work well together in telling the story well. The header shot draws us in, the landscape shot engages emotions and the portrait show provides context. I think one of the things I’m learning is that sometimes photos just don’t quite stand alone no matter how much we think about the shot.

    1. Context can often be ambiguous in a photo, which is why I like the idea of photo stories – what people read from an image without any explanation.

    1. it all depends on what the photographer is trying to convey. In this case the first image is my favourite because I wanted to show the ‘windblown’ figures gazing out to sea. The foggy day worked with me in this instance creating a more dramatic atmosphere.

  2. I think there’s a place for both, like you my images tend to be mainly landscape. Often I forget I have a choice – senior moments. I love your header version and actually thought they were more or less life size. Seeing them form the front I don’t like them anywhere near as much.

    1. Marvellous isn’t it how the view from behind is more compelling – probably because we, as the viewer, are putting ourselves in the same position – looking out over the restless sea.

    1. Arty in the context that I didn’t just take a photo of the figures from the front as you’d be expected to do, but deliberately framed it from behind with the sea as the background. Artistic is possibly the better word? If only I had yours and Tish’s way with words… 🙂

      1. “Arty” has a dismissive feel to me, which is why I argued with it. The photo captures the feeling perfectly. As for words – they’re overrated!

  3. I had no idea they were that tiny!! I’m guessing you heard that a lot.
    I liked the 2 versions of the photo. Perspective is everything 🙂

    1. It’s very much dependent on the photographer and what they want you to see. In this case my preferred shot was the one from behind showing the figures looking out to sea, which is what they would have been doing of course.

  4. I think the portrait shot is good for showing us the proportions of the sculpture, but I think in this case the landscape shots are so much better for showing us the drama. In the portrait shot you get no real sense of the characters of the women and children, and you don’t see the movement in their clothes. I think the most powerful photo is the one showing the figures from behind.

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