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Something Gen posted in the Sales thread about selling a rare vertical got me thinking. My verticals are about 18.5% of my portfolio.

Out of my 12 rolling month sales, 10% were verticals. So yes, it seems horizontals sell best, but verticals sell, too. And remember, verticals can be cropped from a buyer’s horizontal and unless someone spots a sale, we don’t know how often that happens. It could be that the final printing output from a buyer leans toward verticals. Which brings up the possibility they may prefer to crop the vertical image more to their specifications than what we frame in a vertical at capture.
 

I do take a vertical when it’s possible. (Mostly :P) Often, if I’m shooting a butterfly or flowers, I’ll take several horizontals and throw in a token vertical. And I’ve cropped many a vertical out of a horizontal when I forgot to take one. A few years ago, there was a thread that mentioned squares, and how well they displayed in searches. I made a concerted effort to crop some squares, but as time passed, that fell by the wayside.

I think remembering to take verticals is one of the hardest things for me.

You?
It's a below freezing, snowy day in Kansas. Is that what’s making me cerebral this morning? Am I already stir crazy? I’ve started 2 threads already. I’ll tape my fingers together now and stop that.

Betty

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I'm not as diligent about shooting verticals as I used to be in film days because I figure that end-users can now crop horizontals to their liking. I now tend to take a vertical only if I think the subject especially suits or warrants it -- e.g if there is lots of a nice blue sky that could be used for copy space on a magazine or book cover. I find that the best time to take verticals is when I'm standing up. 🤪

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I often come across verticals cropped to horizontal when searching for images from the papers. Bit of a pain actually as Tin Eye isn't very good with crops, although Google Image search copes better.

 

I still think that it's worth while including a vertical shot when appropriate, and those uses indicated by John are sometimes the most lucrative.

 

 

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I assumed that I was more diligent about shooting verticals when most sales were for print, having gotten used to it since my photography career really got started when a local magazine retained me to shoot for them and they needed both verticals and horizontals for layout: they also had me shoot several covers and so thinking about copy space and shooting verticals became second nature. But a quick estimate shows me only about 15-20% of my portfolio here is vertical. Does that mean that when not on assignment, it turns out, I tend to shoot more horizontal images, perhaps understandable as my stock photography tends to be heavily weighted toward landscapes while most of my assignment work is taking portraits other editorial images involving people. Still, when I look at travel images shot in the past few years  in a city or while shooting in other non-nature settings, about 30% are verticals. Recent still life shoots have an even greater percentage, so what I am shooting seems to dictate whether or not I turn my camera. 

 

 

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back in the days of film there were a lot of cameras shooting 6x6cm which solved this problem. It also meant editors could get out their cropping L-shapes and fiddle about on the lightboxes. Everybody loves cropping. Makes them feel creative!

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Betty, you've raised an excellent point!  When I used to teach stock photography workshops, I stressed the importance of consciously shooting verticals. Editors would confide in me that they always had a difficult time finding vertical images for covers, which paid significantly more money.  One editor even theorized that perhaps photographers didn't use enough anti-perspirant and were uneasy about raising an arm to shoot a vertical!

 

When you've got that wonderful warm feeling in your gut after beautifully composing and capturing a horizontal image and turn around to walk away from the scene with a silly grin of satisfaction on your face, STOP!  Learn to force yourself to turn around and accept the challenge to compose a stunning vertical out of the same scene.  Oftentimes this may necessitate a change in focal length/lens to "pull" scenes out of the horizontal.  Don't forget to leave negative space at the top of the frame for the magazine or book masthead!

 

Ognyan Yosifov has it right in his post above:  "...when is the perfect time to shoot verticals? Just right after you took a horizontal one!"

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Doing a quick look back at three months of my sales, verticals were about 20% of those sales.  Interestingly, my collection is nearly 50-50 with verticals and horizontals....I have slightly more horizontals (I was surprised, I thought I had much more horizontals). 
 

It actually doesn’t surprise me that more sales are horizontal photos, when I post found images in that monthly thread, it seems I find way more horizontal uses, and yes many of those were cropped to a vertical.

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16 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I'm not as diligent about shooting verticals as I used to be in film days because I figure that end-users can now crop horizontals to their liking.

 

 

 

While this is true, they don't stand out to the same degree in a page of thumbnails.

 

Alan

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16 hours ago, Tsado said:

Betty, you've raised an excellent point!  When I used to teach stock photography workshops, I stressed the importance of consciously shooting verticals. Editors would confide in me that they always had a difficult time finding vertical images for covers, which paid significantly more money.  One editor even theorized that perhaps photographers didn't use enough anti-perspirant and were uneasy about raising an arm to shoot a vertical!

 

When you've got that wonderful warm feeling in your gut after beautifully composing and capturing a horizontal image and turn around to walk away from the scene with a silly grin of satisfaction on your face, STOP!  Learn to force yourself to turn around and accept the challenge to compose a stunning vertical out of the same scene.  Oftentimes this may necessitate a change in focal length/lens to "pull" scenes out of the horizontal.  Don't forget to leave negative space at the top of the frame for the magazine or book masthead!

 

Ognyan Yosifov has it right in his post above:  "...when is the perfect time to shoot verticals? Just right after you took a horizontal one!"

Important points, there. In this day of digital, it costs nothing other than a bit of our time to get a vertical.
For some reason, though, while my antiperspirant is fresh, I find it awkward to turn the camera and frame a vertical. I even have to hunt for the button!   Then it’s do I turn the camera clockwise or anti!  And it seems I have to be more careful to get the image lined up straight. 😁  I plead bring left-handed for my troubles. I also bump my face trying to go out the in doors.  Putting the camera to my eye is natural for horizontals. 
Another question. Whether cropping a vertical or a horizontal, do you crop to 8x10, (4x5) which shows up better in searches and seems (to me) a better crop for book/magazine covers or leave the vertical uncropped? I tend to like making them 8x10.
I cropped a square yesterday. :D

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In film days before photoshop, the answer was often simple. Shoot a vertical (called portrait for no convincing reason) and crop off the bottom 20%. I even had a special pack of cardboard mounts  which achieved the effect for the archive. Eventually we settled on the A4 shape which was a little longer than 8x10 and fitted the more likely printed format. In the US they clung onto 8x10 and foolscap (or "legal") There was also "quarto"  We don't really need all those terms these days

Edited by Robert M Estall
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Verticals are one-third of my Alamy images (according to "Portrait" selection in the search), which is way more than I would have estimated from looking at recent uploads. 

 

Verticals accounted for 17% of sales over the last five years.

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1 hour ago, Michael Ventura said:

 

Those two crops should be the same. 

Yes, I know that. I figured if I said 8x10 someone would correct me and say I should have said 4x5!! :D That’s why the parentheses. 
I just wanted to head off the anal-retentives at the pass, lol.

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12 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

Yes, I know that. I figured if I said 8x10 someone would correct me and say I should have said 4x5!! :D That’s why the parentheses. 
I just wanted to head off the anal-retentives at the pass, lol.


Oops, sorry, I read it too fast 😬

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7 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

 

While this is true, they don't stand out to the same degree in a page of thumbnails.

 

Alan

 

That's true. I've gotten lazy when it comes to taking verticals along with horizontals. Guess I need to get back to basics and rotate my camera more often.

 

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1 hour ago, Michael Ventura said:


Oops, sorry, I read it too fast 😬

Michael, I always know you mean nothing detrimental. It’s a given. You are such a kind person.

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My experience in picture selection meetings for book covers is that art people can visualize a vertical crop from a horizontal image when the group is looking for a vertical final image. However word people have difficulty visualizing and tend to default to a vertical original shot, even if the vertical crop from a different horizontal is a better image.

 

Both types, word editors and art designers are in picture selection meetings. However the word people tend to be more senior and have more clout. As the photo editor I always presented a selection of images, some vertical some horizontal. Word people would default to the vertical, so superior cropped images for covers tended to fall by the wayside, unless the art side put up a stink.

 

I always shoot a vertical and a horizontal of the same shot whenever possible. In post processing if I do not have a vertical version of a horizontal image I will look to see if the horizontal can be cropped vertical, so I can submit both vertical and horizontal from the same image. With a 50 megapixel camera I can crop a 50 megapixel 2X3 horizontal to a 2X3 vertical and still come out at 22 megapixels.

 

Here is a good sales example from Oct 27. Maybe some of you made sales to the same client as well. Same client, all for the same book, all RF, but sold with RM terms 50% exclusive to Alamy.

 

Front cover shot 1/8, original shot vertical, $$$

smooth-milkweed-asclepias-sullivantii-be

 

 

1/2 page inside original shot horizontal 2/3 of cover price

cup-plant-silphium-perfoliatum-in-high-p

 


1/4 page inside original shot horizontal 1/3 of cover price.

seed-pods-of-dog-strangling-vine-aka-swa

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Good information, Bill.  It makes sense to me about the difference between word and art people. Art people see artistic possibilities better. It’s a more or less instant recognition of possibilities.

When I did a remodel a couple of years ago, one daughter asked me how I knew to put paint colors, textures and textiles together like I did. I told her I could see the results in my head before choosing anything. Visualization begins in the brain before anywhere else.
 

That daughter has always struggled buying clothes, because she can’t “see” how, while hanging on the rack, they might look on her. So she doesn’t take a lot of them to the dressing room. Unless her sister or I make her! Then she’s shocked at how nice something looks on her.

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I was thinking I should have more verticals since I shoot a lot of lighthouses (or did before the lockdown) but in any event I went through some images that for one reason or another I hadn't uploaded and added 7 photos, 4 of which are verticals. I think I have more verticals than I found in my search here, since I don't always add the keyword vertical, but I will going forward just for statistical purposes. I'm not sure it matters otherwise. What do you think? I know we used to add PT for portrait, orientation but that seems like it could get confusing.

 

Alamy? Any direction is always appreciated. 

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4 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

Good information, Bill.  It makes sense to me about the difference between word and art people. Art people see artistic possibilities better. It’s a more or less instant recognition of possibilities.

When I did a remodel a couple of years ago, one daughter asked me how I knew to put paint colors, textures and textiles together like I did. I told her I could see the results in my head before choosing anything. Visualization begins in the brain before anywhere else.
 

That daughter has always struggled buying clothes, because she can’t “see” how, while hanging on the rack, they might look on her. So she doesn’t take a lot of them to the dressing room. Unless her sister or I make her! Then she’s shocked at how nice something looks on her.

 

I so get what you're saying! Ever since I had my first apartment, friends would ask me how I knew how to mix textures and patterns they wouldn't have considered so they would harmonize. I used to pull it off with my clothing too especially when I was younger, though I hopefully can still pull things together once I ditch the sweatpants someday...My mom was the same way though she never could explain how when someone asked her and neither can I. I just know what will work. 

 

 

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@Bill Brooks your advice to crop a vertical makes a lot of sense. With a 42 MP Sony it's easy to do and I'll keep it in mind. I often visualize different crops, and wonder if I should submit them or just submit the full image and leave it to the editor assuming they'll see the possibilities. 

 

 

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Most current cameras fall into the hand naturally to shoot horizontals and pay little attention to how they are going to work moving to the vertical shooting. A lot of that and photographers would soon be in need of physiotherapy. I once had a neat Fuji roll film camera which produced a vertical 4.5 x 6cm image when held in what appeared to be the natural horizontal shooting position. I liked it but didn't use it as much as I meant to. It got 15 shots from a standard 120 roll and 30 from a 220 roll. I never met any other photographer who embraced 220 film. It just made so much sense in so many ways.

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I used to like the revolving back on my Mamiya RB67, it made verticals very easy. Mind you that wasn't exactly a camera to be used hand-held. I preferred the square format of the Hasselblad, and that certainly could be used hand-held, a jewel of camera. I used the Kenro masks to crop for 645 when necessary, the only problem was if you had to show contact sheets and had shot knowing that some distractions were going to be cropped out left or right or top and bottom. 6x7 trannies had more impact on the lightbox but the Hasselblad lenses were much sharper. I like Arca-Swiss compatible L-grips on my cameras, makes verticals easy if you're using a tripod or a monopod.

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