Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: aspect ratios and portraits?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    220
    Post Thanks / Like

    aspect ratios and portraits?

    this may seem strange and quite possibly real elementary but i have begun building my tumblr site and have noticed something that really confuses me.

    I generally shoot in 3:2 and didn't think much of it until today when i started test posting portrait shots. to my eye 3:2 looks perfectly fine in landscape but once in portrait they look unnatural, elongated. I'm not sure if its just an optical illusion but it just doesn't look right to my untrained eye. If i re-crop it to 4:3 it just looks more natural for some reason.

    I'm sure its just personal preference but what do others think? is there a general standard to follow professionally in this digital day and age?

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    There is no "professional standard", nor general consensus I'm sure, but in general I find vertically oriented portrait photographs do look more flattering with more square proportions than 2:3. Human faces and heads are roundish ovals and don't fit as nicely into a tall, skinny oblong frame unless there is a particular need to emphasize the vertical as a part of the visual language of the photograph.

    Just make what looks good to you. Some will always disagree. ;-)

  3. #3
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    IMHO 4:3 is the ideal aspect ration for ANY image except a panorama, where I like anything at 2, 3 or 4 to 1. For me, 2:3 always has been oddball, and I've almost always cropped them to 3:4 anyway. My .02, YMMV...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  4. #4
    taphapy
    Guest

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    I crop to fit frames, 5x7 or 8x10, depending on what looks best regardless of subject. I never do 4x6 (2/3).

  5. #5
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    3,540
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    1:1
    Carl
    Gallery

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    220
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    thanks guys, i guess i wasn't going loopy after all. =)

    Godfrey - you make a good point about oval heads in a narrow rectangle.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Southport, Australia
    Posts
    1,429
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    something else worth noting is that the 4:3 rectangle looks (to me) less wide than it does high in landscape than it does higher than wide in a portrait orientation ...

  8. #8
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,486
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    2:3 is a legacy of Leica’s decision to double up on 35mm ciné cameras’ 18 x 24 gate. So a 3:4 ratio became a 4:6 ratio. The only recent equivalent is the not-terribly-common 6x9 format on 120 film.

  9. #9
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Manchester/Jerusalem
    Posts
    2,652
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    290

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Personally I like 7X5 and square for portraiture though you need to work harder for the latter. I find 4X5 and 4X3 to squat to flatter and 2x3 is too looooooooong.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

  10. #10
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,486
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Personally I like 7X5 and square for portraiture though you need to work harder for the latter. I find 4X5 and 4X3 to squat to flatter and 2x3 is too looooooooong.
    So hard to please!

  11. #11
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,486
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    2:3 is a legacy of Leica’s decision to double up on 35mm ciné cameras’ 18 x 24 gate. So a 3:4 ratio became a 4:6 ratio. The only recent equivalent is the not-terribly-common 6x9 format on 120 film.
    Forgot to mention that Nikon sold a rangefinder for a time which had a format of 24 x 32 mm, a much better fit for standard photographic paper sizes.

    It died.

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Forgot to mention that Nikon sold a rangefinder for a time which had a format of 24 x 32 mm, a much better fit for standard photographic paper sizes.

    It died.
    Well, not exactly.

    Nikon's first few RF cameras (the Nikon 1, Nikon M and Nikon S) produced from 1947 to late 1954 had 24x32 mm, 24x34 mm and 24x34 mm formats respectively. The Nikon S was quite popular, somewhere around 40,000 were made (a large number in that time period. I had one of them and loved it.) It was the Nikon S2 from December 1954 onwards that adopted the 24x36 mm format convention.

    Some historical information is on the mir.com.my site:
    mir.com.my ... Nikon 1 to Nikon S

    mir.com.my ... Nikon S2 and later

    Conformance to convention pushed Nikon to the 24x36 'standard'. A more square format allows more use of a lens' best quality image circle: Nippon Kogaku were lens makers first and camera makers later. (It is somewhat ironic that the first camera to benefit from Nikkor lenses as standard equipment was the HANSA-Canon (Seiki Kogaku) rangefinder camera from 1935/6.)

    But the convention had been established by Leica and Contax long before Nikon was on the scene producing cameras. Similar idea for Robot and a few other camera makers that started with 24x{something shorter than 36} but all ended up at the 24x36 convention by the late 1960s.

    The force of convention and conservatism influences us even today with the hunt for so-called "full frame" digital cameras.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,486
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Well, not exactly.
    I was speaking about the first, post-war, Nikon RF, so it was, in fact, “exactly” correct (as far as it went). My post was deliberately not exhaustive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    But the convention had been established by Leica and Contax long before Nikon was on the scene producing cameras.
    The first Leica went on sale in 1925, while the Contax did not appear until 7 years later, so it’s a stretch to say that Zeiss established the format. Confirmed or endorsed (or stole ) would be more apt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    The force of convention and conservatism influences us even today with the hunt for so-called "full frame" digital cameras.
    True. And not only for cameras.

  14. #14
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Southport, Australia
    Posts
    1,429
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Forgot to mention that Nikon sold a rangefinder for a time which had a format of 24 x 32 mm, a much better fit for standard photographic paper sizes.

    It died.
    I always wondered why good things never make it commercially and why commercial things often rely on "traditional" mismatches ...

  15. #15
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: aspect ratios and portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    I was speaking about the first, post-war, Nikon RF, so it was, in fact, “exactly” correct (as far as it went). My post was deliberately not exhaustive.
    ...
    The first Leica went on sale in 1925, while the Contax did not appear until 7 years later, so it’s a stretch to say that Zeiss established the format. Confirmed or endorsed (or stole ) would be more apt.
    Your statement was "It died." The Nikon 1 didn't "die", it was developed into the Nikon M then Nikon S, with a format change (still not 24x36) and many other improvements. That's what was inexact about your assertion.

    By 1947 when Nikon entered the camera making marketplace, Leica and Zeiss Ikon's Contax were the two established premium marques that set the convention which most others followed. That's what I meant, not that they were introduced simultaneously.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •