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Portrait Photography Tips #1: Squares

Square format suits portrait as portrait suits the square format. It’s amazing how simple it is. Let’s have a rapid look to the reasons why is it like this and then let’s speak about some little tips and tricks about the marriage between square pictures and humans.

Portrait is surely one of the most common expressions in photography and film photography in particular suits this category of photography.
There are, for sure, some rules to follow about portrait photography, but we will leave them for books (the market is full of books about posing and portrait techniques). Let’s speak about something more unusual: composition. Composition is mainly a personal choice, it depends on your disposition and sensitiveness. Even though it’s like this, let’s try to define some little tips.

The proportions of the square format (i.e. a aspect ratio of 1:1) suits the square format for some specific reasons:

  • with the subject standing up, you have less “empty space” in the two sides, which can be annoying sometimes (and many photographers crop the image).
  • with face portrait pictures, usually the proportions of the face suit better the square aspect ratio.
  • you can “fill the frame” with specific positions of the model.
  • you can play a lot, with surprising results (because nowadays the square ratio is not so used).
  • useful if you’re planning a vinyl cover.

Some little Tips and Tricks

Put the subject in the middle, leaving some empty space around, with the same distance from the edge:

Fill the frame with the body of the subject:

Cut the body and focus on the face of the subject:

Create some lines or segments (not vertical, nor horizontal) with the body of the subject:

Play, creating the contrast between a vertical (or horizontal) human body and other not human lines:

Human in a corner (the one you prefer, but I like the upper ones) and the rest outside:

Alessandro Panelli is a Medicine and Surgery student, an ambulance volunteer, a photographer and a writer from Padova, Italy.

written by yopanic

1 comment

  1. yopanic



    I'm not betraying you, simply I started scanning my negatives... lol

    about 1 year ago · report as spam

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