This is a good example of choosing the appropriate orientation (horizontal, “landscape” or vertical, “portrait”) and aspect ratio (the ratio of length of the two dimensions of the photo).


Fig 1: landscape orientation. Note the large area of green at the bottom right. Although “negative space” can be used effectively in many compositions, this is simply “unused space”. It doesn’t enhance the strength of the composition, or provide additional visual interest. Also, the poppies appear constrained by the short height of the frame, and the line created by the flowers draws the viewer’s eye from to to bottom, dividing the frame in two parts.


Fig 2: portrait orientation. For this subject, the vertical frame is much stronger. Note how the subject fills the frame more, while at the same time leaving more room for it to “breathe” around the outside of the frame.

In most cases, a vertically-oriented subject works best in a vertical frame, and horizontal subjects fit best in a landscape oriented frame. Of course, there are exceptions when applying creative strategies to your compositions.

Take note of how the subject is oriented, and see which framing works best.

Photos copyright Chanell Podell and used with permission. All Rights Reserved.