A question I am often asked is how do i decide on whether to shoot an image in landscape format or portrait format.
In this post I hope to try to explain a little bit of my thinking.
When it comes to landscape photography, and any photography really, the main difference between a landscape and a portrait format is the dirrection your eyes will travel over the image.
With a portrait orientation your eyes are encouraged to travel vertically, with a landscape orientation your eyes will travel horizontally.
Portrait orientation tends to emphasise the foreground. This is because the vertical frame allows you to include more of what is directly in front of you. The use of a wide-angle lens will show this up even more.
The image above was taken with a wide focal length of 21mm, with the camera titled slightly downward toward the rocks to really emphasise them and use them to lead the eyes up into the image.
Landscape orientation tends to emphasise the horizon. The horizontal frame will create space to either side of your main subject so use the rule of thirds (see my beginners guide, free to all who subscribe) to balance the image and encourage the viewers eyes to move in a controlled way across the frame.
I have purposely used two similar images in the above examples. One is in portrait orientation and one in landscape, in order to demonstrate the difference these make.
In my opinion, and you may agree or disagree, I believe that for the subject matter, the portrait orientation works better.
If you're out in the field and can't decide whether to take the image as a landscape or a portrait, do both. You can decide later.