Another Friday in Cincinnati and another professional pet photography Project 52 blog post. This is Week 45 and we are covering the topic “Orientation of Frame” from the book “The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographers” by David DuChemin. Because it’s been pretty busy lately, I didn’t have time to photograph Mr. Bojangles for our weekly assignment, so I’m showing images from a recent client session at my favorite local park.

There are two basic frame orientations: horizontal, or landscape, and vertical, or portrait. Just because the frame orientation is called “landscape” doesn’t mean that it is only for landscape images and the same for portrait orientation. You should choose your frame orientation based on the composition of your image and how your subject best fits into the frame.

I typically try to take images during a session that are both vertical and horizontal orientation so that there is a variety to choose from for the client. Depending on how we frame or compose our images, the orientation we choose may or may not work as well as the other choice. Sometimes it can be difficult when you have a pet subject, because they are often easily distracted and can’t turn their head when you say “turn to the left.” For example, in the image below, shot in landscape orientation, the negative space is to the right of my doggy subject, but she is looking off to the left outside of the frame. I think this image would have worked better had she been to the right of the frame and looking into the negative space or had she simply turned her head to look to the right.

The next image is vertical (or portrait orientation) and seems to work better, because my subject is looking directly at me and the negative space is at the top. I also like how I got more of the sky in the image for a little added color. 

In my final image from this session, all three dogs, Pilot, Presley, and Magee, are in this horizontally oriented image. Because there are multiple dogs, it worked better to frame them in a horizontal image…especially since the two cockapoos are much smaller than the collie. If I had shot this in a vertical orientation I would have had my subjects farther back in order for them to all fit in the frame. So, because I shot it in landscape orientation, I was able to easily fit them all in and have them appear closer.

Now head over to see more frame orientation from Kim with BARKography based in Charlotte, NC, 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], 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.


We are currently booking our ‘Tis The Season Holiday Card Special Sessions. There are two options that are both a great deal, whatever your needs for the season. Our Platinum ‘Tis The Season Collection includes a 60 minute session, 16×24 canvas gallery wrap, 50 holiday cards + return labels, four gift prints, and a metal ornament for only $995 (a $400 savings!) Our Deluxe ‘Tis The Season Collection includes a 30 minute session, 50 holiday cards + return labels, and two gift prints for only $475 (a $120 savings!) 

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

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