Aspect Ratios

Well we have all heard of aspect ratios. If you have a modern digital camera you can select the aspect ratio that the sensor is recording your image at.

More often than not the change in aspect ratio also means a change in a loss of megapixel count.
I usually use 4:3 ratio as it is the main aspect ratio for my camera.

4:3 ratio

You have two options in reality.

The first one is to record the whole image, then cropping the image in post production to change the aspect ratio. This gives you plenty of flexibility once you get home and load it onto your computer, as you can then change your aspect ratio.

The second option being to change the aspect ratio in your camera body as you are taking the picture. This will of course decrease the image file size. Which can be a good thing if you are certain that’s how you see your image. Most modern camera’s will show you the crop that you have selected in your viewfinder, or on the cameras screen.┬áThis is very helpful tool to have if you are struggling with your compositional skills. A very useful and powerful tool to be able to bring into your collection to use.

So which aspect ratio is best to use?

My answer to this is to understand quite what aspect ratio does to the view that you’re looking at!

So putting a tripod with your camera, setting up a cable release or some form of self timer. Go ahead and take your image.

Now go ahead and change in the camera settings the aspect ratio that the body will allow you to record images in. It’s important at this stage not to change any camera settings or lens.
This should show you exactly what the aspect ratio does to the image that you’re currently looking at.

So how do they look to you?

5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 1:1, 16:9

Go ahead and try this just for the fun of it. I once restricted myself to a standard lens and a 1:1 square aspect ratio for all my images for a month. I was delighted by the end of the month. I had trained my eye to see things in a square ratio.

1:1 ratio

I also tried shooting in a 16: 9 ratio aspect for a month ,and failed big time.

16:9 ratio

For me I need to have the full 4:3 ratio, rather than a restricted 16:9 ratio.

5:4 ratio

3:2 ratio

However I still firmly believe that it was worth trying this out for yourself.

Being creative should be fun, and it is only by trying various things that we can know what works for us. If it causes frustration my advice would be to stop.

M

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