I do not know if you have ever asked yourself to what extent the format in which you take your photographs determines the final result. It is possible that you intuit it in a certain way and that, by practice, intuition, or vision, take advantage of each of them without being very aware of why. Today I have proposed to explain that the photographic formats go beyond square, rectangular, vertical or horizontal. I come to explain the theory, the reason for each of them, their strengths and weaknesses. Because maybe there was something that escaped you when using them, because maybe you had not encouraged the other formats too much, because knowledge does not take place and because you always learn something new that can be useful (at least I hope so ). That said, let's see the different photo formats and how to get the most out of them.


Yes, although it is not a format in itself, it is evident that we compose the images through it (mostly). It is this first aspect that determines the final result of our photographs. What we see is rectangular in a camera designed to work horizontally. Although (with practice) we can abstract from what we see through the viewfinder and compose in other formats, the truth is that a priori this conditions us a lot.


The viewfinders and cameras have not been designed horizontally because yes or to annoy those who like the vertical format;), they have been designed to adapt to the human gaze, which not only conditions the design of our cameras, but above all our way of making and reading the images. Human vision is horizontal, binocular (two eyes) and is characterized by sharply focusing a narrow angle while the image that surrounds it progressively blurs as it moves away from the point where we put the focus. However, the eye moves quickly through the scene, allowing us to have a perfectly sharp image as we analyze the scene without even being aware of those areas without sharpness.


After this short introduction, let's see what are the most common formats used today in photography, starting with 3: 2 that, if you come from the analog world, it sure is very familiar to you, since it is the one that had the standard reels with the We used to work the vast majority of photography enthusiasts. This type of format is inherited directly from 35mm and is characterized by elongated proportions. It is the format that best suits our intuitive horizontal composition system , since it fits perfectly with our vision, the horizon and the organization of the elements in horizontal format. If, instead, we choose to work vertically, we will see that it adapts well also to the human figure or to markedly vertical elements. In this format, the directionality is very marked, let's work horizontally or vertically and conditions the composition and the result of the image.
Format 3: 2 or 35mm


It is the format that most cameras of low or medium amateur range and mobile phones have adapted because they are considered the most natural format In this case, the directionality is not as marked as in 3: 2, and they are better suited to the view and especially to screens and prints. It is surely the one you use if you work in digital. It adapts very well to both vertical and horizontal images, especially the first ones. Its strong point is the malleability that its proportions have, which allow the lines and compositions to be worked in a comfortable way and not so marked and predefined by the shape of the frame itself.
4: 3 format


Although platforms like Instagram have made it very fashionable and now it seems a very common format, the truth is that, until now, it was intended for very specific and specific images. Composing in square format is not always simple, since its symmetry, balance and lack of directionality can easily make us fall into uninterested or decompensated compositions (normally all elements have a dominant line that we usually adapt to the longest side of the frame) . To escape the boredom of symmetry (which can be interesting sometimes, of course, but not always), you have to try to break it in the composition. Well through the negative space, the lines, the situation of the main element in the frame, the color, and so on.
1: 1 format (square)


We have already talked about how horizontal images have a natural appeal to humans. Panoramic photographs are the culmination of horizontality and, thanks to the editing tools, we do not need a specific camera or great knowledge to squeeze all its possibilities. However, panoramic photographs require a mental anticipation of the result; that is, we must imagine the image beforehand and choose the best composition without seeing the result until we work on its editing. Today's panoramas are nothing more than a succession of images that go through the same scene, placed next to each other through an editing program that is responsible for making them fit perfectly creating an image without interruptions . That is why we must anticipate its appearance in terms of composition and framing and also regarding how many photographs we want to use. The more we use, the more elongated the image will be, but it will make you gradually lose the upper and lower area of the photo (it will be narrower), so you don't have to go over;). And of course do not hesitate to go out of the conventional and get to work the panoramas vertically . You'll be surprised ;).
It is clear that each format has its usefulness and its moment, right? although it is possible that for your day to day the one that works best for you is 4: 3; not only because it is the one that comes by default in most non-professional cameras and smartphones , but also because it is the one that best adapts to different screens and print formats. And here the article today. I hope you found it interesting and that it has helped you to be aware that the photographic format we use not only exists but also conditions our images. Do you dare to try a different one? Do it, you will see how it forces you to try harder in your compositions, it will open your mind and enhance your creativity. But before doing so do not forget to share this article in your favorite social network so that it reaches as many people as possible. Thank you and see you soon.
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