One of the first things you should think about before taking a photograph is whether it will look better with a horizontal or vertical composition. Because of the way that cameras are built, it feels more natural to hold them horizontally. Consequently, most photos are composed that way. This works well when you want to emphasize the width of your subject. A horizontal composition will draw your viewer’s eye from side to side across the frame. This photo from the Magic Kingdom gives you a sense of what a gorgeous fall day it was. In addition to the train station, I was able to capture the big, beautiful sky and many of the Halloween decorations in the shot.
Depending on your subject, a vertical composition may be a more pleasing way to frame your picture. Often, tall subjects (like trees or people) look better when framed vertically. Composing vertically can be a good way to capture a more detailed view of your subject. In this vertical shot of the same scene, the emphasis is more on the beautiful clock tower and the architectural details of the station.
Copyright Â© 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 1/1000s shutter, f4.8
If you’re not used to turning your camera on its side, it may feel a bit awkward at first. As with everything, the best way to get used to it is to practice. So next time you are taking pictures, make a point of trying both horizontal and vertical compositions on every photo. It won’t take long for you to get a sense of which subjects look better with each orientation. I often take both kinds of photographs and decide later, when I’m viewing them on my computer, which I like best. Sometimes I can’t decide and end up keeping both, like I did with these two views of the train station.