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Thread: A Question of Aspect Ratios

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    A Question of Aspect Ratios

    I don't think we've had a discussion on this topic previously. Apologies if we have.

    What are your views/approaches to presenting your images in the various aspect ratios?

    The reason I ask is that, having been a person who just did what seemed right for the image, I have become more conscious of a number of photographers, including some on here, 'specialising' in presenting work at a particular ratio; e.g. 1:1; 4:5; 3:1; 2:1, 7:5; etc etc.

    Coupled to that (or perhaps promoted by it), I have developed an awareness of my own preferences for, 16:9 for landscape and 4:5 for portrait orientations. And have started to develop thinking that this should by 'my' chosen aspect ratios and I should be training myself to shoot in order to make images in those ratios. I also notice that a number of my latest semi-decent images are in one or other of my preferred aspect ratios. So, time to move it onto a more conscious level perhaps.

    What are your approaches to this?
    Have you got an aspect ratio that you always, or prefer to, work to?
    Does it matter?
    Am I getting far too a......y retentive and should shut up and just get on with it?

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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    Most of my photo's on Flickr (just 'free/own' stuff) I crop in whatever seems right for the image. Though when I receive a request to do something I go most of the time for 3:2 (my camera output ratio). This because I mostly deliver series and off course they all have to look the same. Sometimes a shoot explicit with the 'rule' not to crop in pp. This makes me think even more about composition, not only about proportions and perspective but also everything single in the frame.
    Altough I have to say I nearly always crop my landscapes less square simply because I like it.

    Worth saying is that I barely print my work (maybe I should do it more, I like watching a large printed photograph of my own). The print sizes and ratios determine the ratio and therefore the chosen composition.

    Don't shoot my if I'm wrong but I guess Colin uses a certain ratio for (most of) his landscapes and I've seen lots of prints on his studio shot in a PAD thread, so I guess these two have to do with each other.

  3. #3

    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio_%28image%29

    I find 1:1 great for flowers if it's just the head (just posted one for my day 12 PAD). My new Panasonic G1 is 4:3 and at first I didn't like the sound of that, but it's actually quite good, even for landscapes such as this one here I find with my 50D that I quite often crop some off the length, so 4:3 seems better.

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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    I tend to assume that they may require printing at some time so I usually crop to one of the standard frame sizes; or thereabouts (3 x 2) can easily become A4).

    But when possible, I leave plenty of background space around the main subject which gives me a bit of leeway if I need to alter the size for a different purpose.

    Then do a final tight crop as required.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    I like 16:9 or even 2:1 for web based stuff Donald, but since professional printers work to sensor ratio's I like 3:2 for printing 30:20 or 24:16.

    Portraits get done 24:16 or 12:8

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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    I have tended, in the past, to shoot to tightly in-camera and have been including more background of recent times and find I am getting better balance in my images. Having said that I am just putting together my second local calendar and finding that I need to shoot even more loosely as I need to allow for 5mm bleed all around the image. It made me change some images I had planned to use.

    I normally print A3, A4 or 4:3 (in smaller prints) but have been doing some tight panoramas at 16.5 x 6 in. This suits a frame I get from a local manufacturer and I can print on my A3 printer. This size depends on the image but works for me – see image below.

    A Question of Aspect Ratios

    The more I print the more I am conscious of what I am going to use the image for and start to shoot for the purpose.
    Last edited by Peter Ryan; 16th July 2010 at 02:13 AM.

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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    What are your views/approaches to presenting your images in the various aspect ratios?
    I tend to have a few "common" ratios that I like to use; landscape is mostly 2:1, with the occasional 3:1 (both for horizontals) - verticals I do 1.5:1 because 2:1 in a vertical is a wee bit too "out there". I do occasional square shots as well.

    For commercial stuff that's put on canvas and put up for sale it's all about standardisation and economy; canvas is expensive (about $30 per linear metre) and it's 24 inches wide - I need 1 inch down each side to grip and staple - so maximum efficiency is gained when one of the dimensions is an image size of 22 inches (so no canvas is wasted). So in common aspect ratios I end up doing ...

    22 x 11" (2:1)

    22 x 15" (1.5:1) (approx)

    22 x 22" (1:1)

    22 x 33" (1:1.5)

    22 x 44" (2:1)

    22 x 66" (3:1)

    22 x 88" (4:1)

    Occasionally I get a request for something "non-standard", but I "love" the above sizes because I have jigs for cutting the frames to just the right length without having to measure the image and do the maths first

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    What are your views/approaches to presenting your images in the various aspect ratios?

    The reason I ask is that, having been a person who just did what seemed right for the image, I have become more conscious of a number of photographers, including some on here, 'specialising' in presenting work at a particular ratio; e.g. 1:1; 4:5; 3:1; 2:1, 7:5; etc etc.

    Coupled to that (or perhaps promoted by it), I have developed an awareness of my own preferences for, 16:9 for landscape and 4:5 for portrait orientations. And have started to develop thinking that this should by 'my' chosen aspect ratios and I should be training myself to shoot in order to make images in those ratios. I also notice that a number of my latest semi-decent images are in one or other of my preferred aspect ratios. So, time to move it onto a more conscious level perhaps.

    What are your approaches to this?
    Have you got an aspect ratio that you always, or prefer to, work to?
    Does it matter?
    Am I getting far too a......y retentive and should shut up and just get on with it?
    I think this is an excellent question.

    Personally I attempt to shoot for outcomes: and because of my Professional History, that means I would shoot to 5x4, 10x8 for albums in the 1980’s, then later we moved to 5x7 & 10x8 whilst always keeping the 30x40 or 24 x20 in mind. This meant we always shot with “room to spare” top and bottom and on the sides. . . and made the decision to crop to size later.

    Also, for anyone who has used TLR or a 2 Square SLR, this idea of shooting with “air” is familiar.

    Since I use almost exclusively DSLR’s now and as the emphasis is not on so much on Print Sales and I don’t do as many Professional engagements I now place much more emphasis on planning the final aspect ratio BEFORE taking the shot.

    And with the assistance and some tutilage from an English Colleague, I am creating more and more “Image Stories” and limiting those to sets of Six or Nine images Only.

    To give maximum impact to the Image Story (because there are so few images), the Aspect Ratio needs to be sorted beforehand . . . to suit the final story. So then one needs to shot to that aspect ratio:

    For example, these two are premeditated shoots; including “Goal Saved”, which took me shooting about five Games to get: and I was lucky it was such a cracker save, so I changed the name to suit the effort!

    Five Training Days:
    A Question of Aspect Ratios



    Gutsy Save!
    A Question of Aspect Ratios


    ***

    I think shooting generally the human form comes intro 5 x 7 naturally and that is where
    I am most comfortable:

    A Question of Aspect Ratios

    and


    A Question of Aspect Ratios



    And other stuff, planned for 5 x 7 falls better to 5x7.5 (using the full area of the DSLR) so I think this one is "a mistake" in regard to aspect ratio, but only I know that:

    A Question of Aspect Ratios


    But it is nice to push the comfort factor and move to 1:1:

    A Question of Aspect Ratios



    And there are just some intense shots of people, which need widescreen, IMO:

    A Question of Aspect Ratios


    I think we extend ourselves by thinking ahead of time to what the print will be . . . and not just the Aspect Ratio.

    I am indebted to Neil Ambrose, a well know and talented London Wedding Photographer for assisting me to up the bar for me: his assistance whilst I worked on my "Picture Stories" techniques was invaluable.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 14th July 2010 at 08:46 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    PS: Keep in mind also, that one can use the matte to adjust the overall aspect ratio of an image ... something that may be very "panoramic" as, say, a 4:1 can be presented in a matte that "tame" it into perhaps a 2:1 overall.

  10. #10
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    . . . I think the matt's: SHAPE, ASPECT RATIO, and COLOUR, has a dramatic influence on the final product . . . as to: where it hangs, what colour wall, size of room, room lightng . . .

    WW

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    Re: A Question of Aspect Ratios

    This has been an interest to me for a while and I've compiled a listing taken from several sources:

    Code:
    - - - - - - Standard Aspect Ratios - - - - - -
      1        1        1.00   MF 6x6
      7        6        1.16   MF Photo
      6        5        1.20
      5        4        1.25   Standard Photo
     10"       8"       1.25   8R, 6P
     24       19        1.26   LF 4x5 Frame
     14"      11"       1.27   11R, Standard Photo
     17       13        1.30
      4        3        1.33   MF 6x4.5, Traditional TV
      8"       6"       1.33   6R
      4.67"    3.5"     1.33   LD, DSC
      5.33"    4"       1.33   KGD
      6.67"    5"       1.33   2LD, DSCW
     15       11        1.36
     11        8        1.37   Movie
      7"       5"       1.40   5R, 2L, LF 5x7 Frame
      3.5"     2.5"     1.40   2R
     10        7        1.43
      5"       3.5"     1.43   3R, L
     13        9        1.44   IMAX
      3        2        1.50   35mm Frame
      6"       4"       1.50   4R, KG, Index Card
     12"       8"       1.50   S8R, 6PW
      5.25"    3.5"     1.50   LW
      7.5"     5"       1.50   2LW
     14        9        1.56   Advertising
      8"       5"       1.60   Index Card
      5        3        1.66   EU Movie
      5"       3"       1.66   Index Card
     35       20        1.75   1950's Wide
     16        9        1.78   HDTV
     37       20        1.85   US Movie
      2        1        2.00   SuperScope/Red One
     11        5        2.20   70mm Movie
     47       20        2.35   CinemaScope
     12        5        2.40   Wide Screen Movie
      5        2        2.50
     51       20        2.55   CinemaScope 55
     13        5        2.60   Cinerama
    133       50        2.66   Super 16 Movie
     55       20        2.75   UltraPanavision
     17        6        2.83   Pano Standard
      3        1        3.00
      4        1        4.00   Polyvision
     34        5        6.80
    This comes from listings for film photography, standard photographic print sizes and ratios, video, and cinematography. When a ratio is dependent upon a specific dimension, I have the values in inches.

    I find that I commonly use 3:2, my dSLR's native ratio, and often I'll crop to 5:4, 24:19, and 17:6

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