52.2 month 05 : aspect ratios and camera position

Medium Format, Large Format, Square Aspect Ratios & Shooting from Above and Below

The aspect ratio of an image is the relationship between its height and width – effectively defining how square or rectangular the image appears. Most DSLR cameras use an aspect ratio of 3:2 or more commonly known as 6:4. By changing the aspect ratio we can use the height and width of the image to strengthen the composition, play with the perspective or create a more balanced image. This month we are using aspect ratios that are more commonly found on medium and large format cameras, for example 5:4, 7:6, 16:9 and also exploring square or 1:1 aspect ratio. The square aspect has gained hugely popularity recently with the increasing use of iphoneography and the use of Instagram. Square aspect ratios encourage simplicity in the composition which can result in very powerful images. Center based compositions and utilizing symmetry work very effectively in square format leading the eye either directly to the center or providing lines for the eye to follow.

Pointing the camera in a direction other than straight-on often yields intriguing results, simply because we typically engage with the world at eye level. From standing atop buildings to standing over children, this is a fun assignment with a lot of room to be creative as we capture what all there is to see when looking down or up. Shooting upward can make something (or someone) small look disproportionately big, or if pointed high enough, may capture the wonder of vast skies or tall buildings. Playing with scope and scale are side benefits to this assignment, as is the reminder to look around and see what is happening above our heads as well as in front of our eyes.

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