Thursday’s Special

This week Paula encourages us to consider the differences between taking a landscape or portrait format. What factors make you decide which way to go? Is it the lens on your camera that forces you into a particular format, or are you making a more conscious decision about what it is you want to portray and what is the best way to do that? 

These two images are of the haunting bronze sculpture that I have featured before in black and white. The close-up landscape version(s) were deliberate compositions to focus on the detail of the women and children as they wait for their husbands and fathers to return from sea.The decision to take a portrait shot was based purely on the desire to capture the entire sculpture and show exactly how small these figures actually are.

I tend to take most of my photos in the landscape mode unless I am photographing something particularly tall like a building or a tree. Of course with editing software it is easy to change any photo into any size afterwards, so it is not always necessary to make the decision at the point of clicking the shutter. I think the most important decision you should make when taking that shot is whether you have thought about what it is you are trying to capture and have you considered carefully that this is the best composition. That helps you take a great shot rather than several mediocre ones when you simply ‘hope for the best’.

I am interested to hear your thoughts.


Published by


I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

40 thoughts on “Thursday’s Special”

  1. Wow, I remember this shot. I would never know how tiny these are just from landscape. it is really not fair to compare the two here. I am glad that you took both. The first one is really intriguing, what I love about the landscape apart from all the context and scale is the background , nice pinkish foggy background. I appreciate having these as entry for this challenge. Thanks a bunch, Jude.

    1. I suppose I should have used the same image to compare/contrast, but I wanted to show that sometimes you have to use both formats to give that frame of reference. (As I said to Debbie). Glad you like the post.

      1. Awesome tennis! I keep wanting to head for the garden for a while before Rafa, but I haven’t made it yet. 🙂 Nice beach walk this morning though.

        1. Was going to the beach / garden and out for lunch until I remembered it was semi-final day! But still rather blowy here. I will take OH out for his birthday lunch soon… 😉

    1. I am very much a landscape photographer (format not subject) looking at my folders of images, but sometimes you do need to make a change. Yes, it is a very emotional subject.

      1. That’s what I meant, indeed. I like the fact that the sculpture looks like a small stage here, giving the illusion of the figures maybe being life-sized.

  2. Jude such wise words you share here. I think I need you speaking in my ear when I am out and about with a camera. I tend to get overly excited at the beauty of a scene and snap away. Once home I often think ‘Why didn’t I take the time to try this or that?’.

    1. Oh, Sue, I was a snapper for a loooong time (and still am sometimes), only recently have I attempted to curb my enthusiasm and be more mindful about each shot.

  3. The close-up landscape makes the statues appear much bigger of course. I think I prefer the portrait mode shot, which makes you realise how small and detailed the figures are.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  4. What a nice surprise! You gave the tiny statues more importance with the close-up shot. Even the background does not give them away. Love both images.

  5. Well the portrait tells the truth! So that would be me in travel blogger mode.
    But the landscape is my preferred image (in fact I love your even closer header image from behind) as an atmospheric, artistic shot. I am often torn between those two different approaches.

  6. The portrait image really puts this into context, Jude! I must say, I would dispute the idea that you can always change the format in post-processing, as just cropping doesn’t necessarily achieve the desired result….😳

  7. The two (well three really) shots work well together in telling the story well. The header shot draws us in, the landscape shot engages emotions and the portrait show provides context. I think one of the things I’m learning is that sometimes photos just don’t quite stand alone no matter how much we think about the shot.

    1. Context can often be ambiguous in a photo, which is why I like the idea of photo stories – what people read from an image without any explanation.

    1. it all depends on what the photographer is trying to convey. In this case the first image is my favourite because I wanted to show the ‘windblown’ figures gazing out to sea. The foggy day worked with me in this instance creating a more dramatic atmosphere.

  8. I think there’s a place for both, like you my images tend to be mainly landscape. Often I forget I have a choice – senior moments. I love your header version and actually thought they were more or less life size. Seeing them form the front I don’t like them anywhere near as much.

    1. Marvellous isn’t it how the view from behind is more compelling – probably because we, as the viewer, are putting ourselves in the same position – looking out over the restless sea.

    1. Arty in the context that I didn’t just take a photo of the figures from the front as you’d be expected to do, but deliberately framed it from behind with the sea as the background. Artistic is possibly the better word? If only I had yours and Tish’s way with words… 🙂

    1. It’s very much dependent on the photographer and what they want you to see. In this case my preferred shot was the one from behind showing the figures looking out to sea, which is what they would have been doing of course.

  9. I think the portrait shot is good for showing us the proportions of the sculpture, but I think in this case the landscape shots are so much better for showing us the drama. In the portrait shot you get no real sense of the characters of the women and children, and you don’t see the movement in their clothes. I think the most powerful photo is the one showing the figures from behind.

Likes are nice, but comments start a conversation...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.