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author and amateur photographer


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Hello everyone,


There are so many beautiful photos and skilled photographers here that I feel very small.  But full of inspiration.


I started taking photos to go with my writing, but lately, I've been focusing more on photography and finding beauty in mundane tasks. 


After working on composition for a few years and finally felt that my skills were enough to invest in an interchangeable lens camera (I also needed better quality files for magazines and printed material).  I love it!  There is so much more to learn that I feel a huge sinkhole has opened up in front of me and I just want to jump in.  Having the dials on the outside of the camera so I don't have to navigate through half a dozen menus just to change the shutter speed fills me with joy.


There is so much more to learn before I can make a photo good enough for someone to buy, but I'm enjoying uploading them and learning about keywords and stuff.


A small question - is there any crop ratios that are preferred?  I'm using 3:2 because that was the default setting.  I'm wondering if I should expand my world and try some other numbers... but there are so many to choose from.  Can you suggest a reference I might read?

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  • 4 months later...

Both Linhof and Pentax had a crack at promoting the "ideal format" back in film days. Hasselblad and Rolleiflex stuck with square format which had quite a following. Personally, I think the 3/2 format often too long and preferred my Pentax 67 format but found the bulk of the camera a bit much. My clients really liked it but that was more to do with the size of the transparency I think. In most cases, they didn't need the extra reproduction quality, it was just that they could see the images more clearly without having to use a lupe. Those were all roll film examples so the results sat on a lightbox about 6 cm x 7.5 cm. Fuji (or was it Plaubel?) made a 6x8 which was a whopper of a camera. Studio use mostly. And of course there was a lot of studio and architectural work done on 4"x 5" Ansell Adams shot on 8"x 10"


Most digital cameras have a big enough pixel count to crop some. Your portfolio has several cropped images and I see no problems with them  I certainly don't think you will suffer client rejection by pulling in the sides a bit if you prefer the look. There was a time on Alamy when your images would appear a bit bigger if they were not so long & thin. There are certainly times when shooting buildings when you have to keep the camera level  to avoid distortion and tidy things up by cropping afterwards. Photoshop helps but you'll still have to crop.

Edited by Robert M Estall
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Back in the day you had to go to medium or large format film to have a different crop ratio to 35mm (aka aspect ratio). So as Robert says you had large format 10"x 8" & 5"x4" (1.25:1) & medium format 6x7 cms (1.2:1). I liked 6x6 cms because you could crop it either way, I still like square in fact though there are no native square digital sensors, Hasselblad have gone all rectangular on us. Mamiya made a 6x8 cms back with a 1.36:1 aspect ratio and more or less the same aspect ratio as the smaller 645 medium format.


Maybe because I was brought up on film I've always thought these slightly boxier crops to have more class than the 1.5:1 standard DSLR but I don't tend to crop mine down. Micro 4/3 cameras have 1.33:1 sensors (the clue's in the name), as do the super expensive medium format backs from the likes of Phase One & Hasselblad and though I don't have one I do like the look of that crop.


With some of their cameras Nikon would give you 5x4 crop lines in the viewfinder, I don't know if they still do that, the image  file wasn't cropped though.


Rather than a reference why not try cropping some of your pictures to different aspect ratios and see if you prefer them that way. If you have Lightroom then that is very easy, you can create virtual copies with different crops and compare them side by side.

Edited by Harry Harrison
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On 16/08/2019 at 23:30, CrowingHen said:

A small question - is there any crop ratios that are preferred? 


No, but it can be worth taking different format shots of the same item. ie. a landscape and portrait format shot. Also don't crop too tightly if there are plain areas in the image as they can be used for text copy to be added.



Edited by M.Chapman
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I combined photography with travel and culture writing for many years. However, I could never figure out if I was a writer/photographer or a photographer/writer. Ultimately, the decision was made for me as the freelance writing world got too frustrating and competitive for my liking, so I stick with photography these days. I usually stay with the 3:2 aspect ratio. However,  I find that 4:3 and 1:1 (square) can work well with some images, so I do mix it up a bit.


P.S. Shouldn't it be the "Wet Coast" rather than the "Left Coast"? 🤔

Edited by John Mitchell
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9 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

P.S. Shouldn't it be the "Wet Coast" rather than the "Left Coast"? 🤔


This time of year, definitely Wet.

But we also have 6+ month of the year with zero rainfall in the summer.  Between the dust and the wildfire smog, one starts missing the wet.  

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