I believe all of our cameras have at least one feature that we never or rarely use. In this video, Mark Denney reflects on one that might just be yours. The aspect ratio is something you probably don’t change in camera, but Mark explains why you should give it a shot.
One of the big selling points of high resolution cameras like the Nikon D810 and Canon 5DS are the ability to “crop in post”. Typically when people say this, though, they mean their lenses aren’t long enough and they want to be able to crop into the detail. Or, they’re tracking a moving subject that would be difficult to follow if they were trying to fill the frame.
But there’s more to cropping than just closing in on a small part of the image. Many cameras today are a 3:2 aspect ratio. Some mirrorless ones are 4:3. But there are so many more formats out there that give a different look and feel to your final shot. This video from Craig Roberts at e6 talks us through where they come from, and what they can imply to the viewer.
If you are shooting for an ad agency, a magazine or a social media cover, there is a good chance that the brief includes a format, or an aspect ratio in which you have to deliver.
That means that you will have to crop your image to fit that ratio. Now, cropping is the easy part, taking the photo so the composition will support that crop is a little more tricky. Some cameras support assisting tools, like crop marks for HD, the rule of thirds, or the golden ratio. But none of the cameras that I know (yet) support aspect ratio for social media.
crop is a little more tricky. Some cameras support assisting tools, like crop marks for HD, the rule of thirds, or the golden ratio. But none of the cameras that I know (yet) support aspect ratio for social media.
Photographer Anna McGunn created a simple tool, basically a bunch of matte-frames, which you can overlay on your LCD to visualize the final image.
For a long time now, Instagram signature look was a square photo with a filter applied. But users are not happy about this restriction. In fact Instagram reports that about 20% of their uploads have crop lines to allow an upload of a horizontal or a vertical photo.
So starting today, Instagram will allow uploading, embedding and filtering of horizontal and vertical photos.
This is somewhat problematic for Instagram as they are trading away one of their biggest distinctions with ease of use. So the press release kinda juggle between wanting to keep it square and wanting to allow more formats:
It’s a story as old as time itself. Client orders prints. Client picks up prints. Client wants to know why the 5×7 doesn’t look like the 8×12 or why the 8×12 doesn’t look like the 11×14. I can even see it coming, as they look back and forth from one to the other, as if the sheer force of will can make the two match up exactly. When supernatural forces don’t resolve the problem for them, they all ask some variation of the same question– “Why are they cropped differently?” And thus begins yet another explanation of aspect ratio. Forget that we had this conversation when they ordered their prints. Forget that I pulled out a set of sample photos I keep on hand for just such a conversation. Forget that I showed them with these very same photos on the monitor when they ordered. Forget everything that happened before the moment they laid eyes on their own prints for the first time. All they know is that the different sizes don’t match up exactly and they want to know why.