Aspect ratios are often overlooked but always important


posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 1:45 PM EST


With nearly every camera sensor having aspect ratios of 3:2 or 4:3, it can be easy to overlook the importance of aspect ratio. However, your choice of aspect ratio is very important for a variety of reasons. It affects how your image is presented and how your artistic vision is portrayed. Do you want a square crop for sharing your work on Instagram, or perhaps you want to replicate the large format photographers of yesteryear and opt for a 5:4 presentation? Or maybe you want to stick with your camera's sensor and never waver. There are many options and no wrong answer, but it's nevertheless important to seriously consider your aspect ratio and your reasons for your ultimate selection.

To make sure we're all on the same page, aspect ratio is very simply the ratio of the width to the height of your image. Suppose that you want to make an 8 x 10 print, whether you're using a Micro Four Thirds camera (4:3 aspect ratio) or a 35mm full-frame camera (3:2 aspect ratio), you are going to have to crop your image to get it to fully fit on an 8 x 10 piece of paper. If you know this ahead of time, you can capture an image with some room to play, but if you fill your entire frame at the time of capture, you do limit yourself to some extent.

The topic of aspect ratios may seem banal at first, Tony Northrup illustrates very well in the video below how important aspect ratio is and how many different possibilities you have to plan for in advance to ensure that your files are flexible for a variety of uses.

(Via Tony & Chelsea Northrup