Thursday’s Special: Portrait vs Landscape

Here are a couple of images I took when on Crete in the 1980s. My old Canon FT and slide film, probably Agfa. I took a landscape image of this old church to show the trees, then a portrait image to get a bit more detail of the church, so these were conscious decisions taken in camera:

Just to take the point a bit further, here is another image (from the same holiday) taken portrait format with a 50mm lens on the camera, the only one I had with me that day:

I always wished I had got a telephoto lens with me that day, but it’s only recently that I realised I could get a little closer to the church and the priests leaving it by cropping in portrait format – a different dynamic emerges:

So, what do you reckon to all this? Better to make the decision at the point of taking the image, or play about in post processing? Personally I see reasons for both, because you may well decide changing lenses or POV is needed or gives better results at the time of taking the image, which you can do nothing about if you decide to change the format in editing…

More Portrait vs Landscape over at Paula’s here.




  1. I like the landscape in the first image, but prefer the portrait orientation in the second. As I don’t post-process, it is a decision I always take at the time.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. My old travel photos are a disaster!! I didn’t have a clue back then, but every once in awhile there was a gem. I love the top one with the trees!!

  3. Pingback: THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: PORTRAIT VS. LANDSCAPE | Lost in Translation

  4. Since purchasing the Olympus and having a choice of lenses I use I do consider my orientation based on what I have on the camera, or whether I can be bothered to change the lens. I suppose it also depends on the size of the image you take as to whether you can crop it without reducing the quality too much. In your case it works well. I like both the church formats – the first because I like the mimicry of the three trees with the three curved extensions on the church (though I might crop out that tree on the left), the second because I like the foreground of the rocks and the closeness of the church along with the light and shadows. Two very different photos of the same scene.

    • Sue

      Many thanks, Jude…glad you like these. As to cropping, I really am trying not to have to do it too often because I can’t get the images printed the size I want them at times…. But I don’t always succeed for a number of reasons!

  5. Sue, this is to be treasured. This architecture is amazing, landscape breathtaking and your memories precious. Thank you for showing the point brilliantly and for treating us to that mesmirising view from above. Wow!

    • Sue

      Oh, the view of the church and priests in the ravine? One of my absolute favourite images …. even though it was taken three decades ago…

  6. Sadly, I have to take it as I see it. I can crop but otherwise am totally ignorant about Photoshop and similar programs.

    • Sue

      Well, I don’t do much in Photoshop, Victoria…I always intend to learn about layers and clever, imaginative stuff, but still haven’t!!

  7. It’s a time-management issue, I think.

  8. I’m confused. I thought portrait was taller than wide, and landscape was wider than tall. On this definition, in both cases I prefer taller-than-wide. Maybe I’m becoming a fan of context above detail. I love the prospect in the second pair taller-than-wide, with the centring of the church. In both cases the wider-than-tall ones seem to be lacking something. Are they cornflowers in the left hand corner of the second pair?

    Then I look again, and change my mind about preferred orientation.

  9. I like both shots of the church, each has it’s own merit. With the priests leaving the ravine I think the crop is good to bring them closer to the viewer but I probably would have cropped it as a square crop with the hill on the diagonal so you still have some blue flowers in the foreground, but leaving space for the priests to walk up the path to the (?) orchard. Anyhow lovely shots all!

    • Sue

      Many thanks, Fraggle…glad you liked them. And I think you have a point about the square format, perhaps I’ll take a look sometime!

  10. I still gawp at people with bells and whistles cameras, Sue, and they laugh at mine, but it’s the love of a great photo that brings us together. I like all of these, and I’m learning as I go along. 🙂 🙂

  11. I do both quite often and when I think it will work both ways, composition is one of the things I’m okay at and it’s fun playing!

  12. Emilio Pasquale

    I prefer landscape format for most of my photos. That might be because I concentrate on landscapes. If I need to get height in a photo I might switch to portrait mode. But I don’t think I would ever make the change in post. You lose too much quality id you ever want to print to a larger format.

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