Why We Love Square Photos or 1:1’s

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Sunrise in Healdsburg, CA

Most of us are shooting a 3:2 aspect ratio which is equivalent to a 35 mm full frame sensor or film.  Some micro four thirds and point and shoots use a 4:3 aspect ratio. Common cameras do not come with a native 1:1 aspect ratio, but here are a few good reasons to shoot 1:1 or crop 1:1.

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See in the cover photo how I was able to eliminate the foreground and right side of the original. Yes, the mountain is dead center, but the sunrise is not.

After putting our subject dead center into a photo, we learn to use the rule of thirds which works great in landscape and portrait orientation in a 3:2 ratio photo (see our popular blog post about the rules of thirds).

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What’s the subject here? Making it a square is more focused and powerful.

However, there are many circumstances where a 1:1 ratio or square works best with the subject dead center.

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My favorite use is portraits.  Almost all portraits I make now with 1-3 people, I use a square photo.  Sometimes 4 or more people is hard to crop into a square, but if I can do it, I will.

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Yuk! A photo made by a bar keep who can not zoom or frame any better. Making us dead center though saves the day.

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A square focuses the subject to the middle, catching our eyes.  It also eliminates distractions to the side and behind the intended subjects.

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This is not a horrible photo.

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My favorite photo from our trip.

Finally, I can darken the edges easily to focus even more on the subject.

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Flowers and macros are perfect for squares.

With most cameras now, you can change the aspect ratio while shooting.  If you want more options, shoot in 3:2 and then crop to 1:1 when you process the photo.  Don’t worry about the lost pixels, they weren’t doing much for you anyway.  Next time you are doing portraits, think 1:1 or a square.  You will love the outcome.

To see more of(and buy) our photos, please go to www.pamphotography.com.

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2 thoughts on “Why We Love Square Photos or 1:1’s

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