Love the square format

I recently released an episode of The Life Creative podcast where I talk about rediscovering the square ratio setting on my camera and how that reminded me of the good ole days with roll film and the 2 1/4 negative.

Here’s the episode if you would like to listen to it.

Interestingly, many social networks still favor the square image, leading to unexpected cropping results, especially for those shooting portrait views on phones

How can I preview the square ratio when shooting on a digital camera?

Well, first of all, check and see if your camera will let you set the display and capture to 1:1 ratio. I also have an electronic viewfinder, and I get to see the square image there as well.

At first, it will seem strange to see the black dead area to the left and right of your display, but you’ll get used to it, trust me.

But why should I use it?

Glad you asked!

Apart from the fact that all you Instagram users will know precisely how your image will look when you post it, it also gives you options after taking the picture.

One thing that was always good about shooting square was it allowed making the shot portrait or landscape later on in the darkroom.

OK, I get it, you don’t use a darkroom. But you do, surprise! It’s just a digital one. How many times have you taken a shot in either landscape or portrait, then, later on, wish you had shot it the other way? Well, square to the rescue.

Yes, you are cropping some pixels but let’s be honest, all modern cameras over the past few years have more than enough resolution to handle at least a little cropping unless you are printing the image to a super large size.

Bad example time

Portrait Crop

What if I wanted to crop the image at the top of this post in a portrait version. Well, I can do something like this to bring out the path as a guiding line up the center of the image.

But since I shot it square, I can also choose to crop to just the path section of the image in landscape view if I decide and leave the viewer to ponder where the path will take them.

Landscape crop

Please give it some thought. Maybe try it for a few days when you next go to shoot some images. You might find that it sparks new creativity when you return to process the shots and opens up new opportunities you did not spot when taking them in the field.