We are at Week 46 of professional pet photography Project 52 blog post and the topic of “Aspect Ratio.” As we’ve been doing for most of this year, we’re covering another chapter from the book “The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographers” by David DuChemin. This time, instead of Mr. Bojangles and I heading to our favorite Cincinnati area park, we headed to our “studio,” i.e. my basement. 

Understanding aspect ratio is important for photography, because it allows us to include or exclude items in our frame, whether we crop in camera or in post production. It is especially important when you are ordering printed products to understand aspect ratio, as one aspect ratio may not be good for the chosen image because important elements may be cropped out. Many photographers shoot with cameras that have a 2:3 aspect ratio, meaning that one side is slightly longer than the other. This ratio translates to print sizes 4×6, 8×12, 16×24, and so on. Just because your camera shoots in that aspect ratio doesn’t mean you have to keep your image the same. In fact, sometimes it’s better to crop to a different aspect ratio as it may give your image more impact. Some of the other aspect ratios that you may find images in are 1:1 (this should be familiar to most as the aspect ratio used by Instagram, a square crop); 4:5 (more familiarly the aspect ratio of an 8×10 print); and 16:9 (a very common aspect ratio with the advent of HDTV).

The first image you see is a typical 2:3 aspect ratio. This is the aspect ratio my camera uses, so if I don’t crop anything, everything I included in my image will be there.

Next, the same image is cropped to a 4:5 ratio. Again, this is what it would look like if printed as an 8×10 or 16×20, and so on.

Next is a 1:1 or square aspect ratio. You can see that there is little space around the composition when it is cropped at this ratio.

Finally, we have the aspect ratio 16:9. You don’t typically find a lot of prints done in this aspect ratio, but it is the aspect ratio most suitable for digital televisions and computer monitors, not to mention your smartphone. For this image, this is actually the crop I like best, because it removes some of the excess white space at the top of the image, and also is a little bit different.

In this next set of images, you’ll see how some of the crops don’t really work for various elements of my composition. First up, we have the native 2:3 aspect ratio.

Next is the 4:5 aspect ratio.

Then we have the 1:1 ratio, which you can see totally doesn’t work for this composition, as I couldn’t include all of the “love” marquee and not cut off a portion of Mr. Bojangles. 

And finally, the 16:9 aspect ratio again, which I am still really liking. I like this aspect ratio because it’s different and I like how the height and width work together. One of my favorite sample prints (well, actually it’s hanging in my living room, but I bring it to events) is in this ratio in a print 18×36.

Which aspect ratio do you like best? Which do you think works best for each of the two images?
Next head over to see what Jessica Wasik with Bark & Gold Photography, serving Pittsburgh pets and their people has for us, and then around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session in your home or other favorite location, use the hot pink “BOOK NOW” button to the right of this post (at the bottom or your screen on mobile), send us an email to suzi [at] petlovephotography.com, or give us a call at 513-288-1650 in the Greater Cincinnati area or at 650-382-3242 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Book your ‘Tis The Season Holiday Card Special Session now through December 2, 2016. 

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