A photograph is a portrait painted by the sun

Photographs used to be either portraits (taller than wider) or landscapes (wider than taller). Because paintings used to be portraits and landscapes. But at some point, portraits and landscapes stopped being called portraits and landscapes. Instead they became “verticals” and “horizontals”. Certainly less poetic, less wistful than the older nomenclature, the change represented a shift away from the preconception that a portrait must be taller than it is wider, and that a landscape can only be photographed with the camera oriented horizontally.

Lane of trees vintage wedding portrait

Sun behind lens flare wedding portrait

In fact, most of the images from the weddings I photograph are horizontal. And most are portraits of one sort or another (candid, groups, couples etc.) There’s something about the horizontal format that gives the shape of a person room within the frame. It helps place them in the context of their surroundings and show how they are interacting with their environment. In a vertically oriented photograph, the temptation is to fill the frame with the subject and you end up with a great image of the subject but nothing much else.

But I like to try and stretch myself to find images that work when composed as vertical images. Accompanying this post are a few photos in vertical orientation from weddings and engagement photo sessions I’ve been lucky enough to photograph over the past couple of months. Different events, different settings, but each one has something to say. I hope you like them!

Silhouette couple portrait

Couple guard of honour swords jumping wedding portrait

Two young boys playing up wedding portrait

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