Working through my entire portfolio as I have been during lockdown, I am wondering about the shape of pictures. A traditionalist would go for rectangular, but sometimes the image isn’t suitable for that and needs a square shape. What do you think, do you like square photographs? Now that we have such adaptable cameras the options are quite numerous.

Panoramic images sometimes look fantastic especially for landscapes, but that’s not my usual subject matter. I have been known to take pictures with the aspect ratio 16 x 9 but that is out of the ordinary and in fact only one such picture comes to mind. This image was taken in California at a wild mustang sanctuary, called Return to Freedom. It’s a magical place.

Wild mustang legs

In order to get the picture I had to creep very slowly and quietly up towards the herd which was grazing on top of a hill. I was lying down on the ground and the light coming through the legs and tails captured me so I adjusted the aspect ratio for this specific image. You may know this as one of my luxury silk scarves too! It works really well in Silk Georgette.

Back to the other shapes now.

My usual aspect ratio is 3 x 2 and most of my images are taken landscape orientation. Some require a portrait orientation, and occasionally I take a series of images in 1 x 1 aspect ratio. This works really well for portraits of horses’ heads, or for some of my ‘watery subjects’. Here are a few square ones.

Blue and white boat
Two (way markers)
French reflections

And now for some horses in square format

Friesian mare and foal
Icelandic horse with flaxen mane and tail
Tsjalle 5
Pearl horse

These are the more traditional 3 x 2 aspect ratio images, – and I would be very interested in what you think about the different shapes.

Icelandic huts

The nature of the subject dictates a certain aspect, which seems to fit well. The huts are pleasing to see and surrounded by heaped up snow create a compelling image.

Young Friesian stallion

With the movement in the horse’s mane there’s an indication of motion, although he has actually just stopped charging around, his mane is still in flying in the wind. Having a bit of space in front of him is consistent with his direction of travel, and seems to ‘please the eye’. A tight crop would lose the sense of movement.

White Lusitano stallion on a grey wall

There is a saying that ‘negative space’ is important in a picture, and I think it works really well here. This horse is loose in an area between two buildings and is charging about, in and out of light and shade. He looks so beautiful coming into the light which dances on his back, his mane and one side of his head. I think you can feel the movement. If the space to his left was cropped off I don’t think it would have the same impact.

In the end photography is of course entirely subjective to assess and each of us has our own preferences and ideas about what works. For me the shape of the image is determined by the subject and what I want the picture to convey to you.

All of these images are available to buy online at my shop – click the link below to have a look.

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