Aspect Ratio in photography: Complete Guide for Beginners

Updated on November 3, 2022 in Photography by

Aspect Ratio in photography: Complete Guide for Beginners

Photography is all about presentation. How you present your images is a crucial factor as it determines what you are emphasizing.

Here, we are discussing the Aspect ratio in photography. A photography element plays a vital role in the presentation of your image.

What is Aspect Ratio in photography?

The aspect ratio in photography is the relation between an image’s width and height. It is used to represent the dimensions of an image and also tells us how the image will look in terms of a square or rectangle.

To represent an aspect ratio in photography, we use a number followed by a colon and then a number. Something like this – 4:3

Here, 4 and 3 shows the ratio between the width and height where the width is 4 unit, and the size is 3 unit. Now, if you keep the width of your image to 200px, the height will be 150px.

Importance of Aspect Ratio

Source – Unsplash

Aspect ratio in photography plays a significant role, especially when capturing and editing the image later.

Choosing the right aspect ratio allows you to frame essential elements of your image in the center and will enable you to easily crop the unwanted edges during the edit.

But in case you capture in an image the wrong aspect ratio where essential parts of an image are on the edges, and now if you want to change the aspect ratio, you might not be able to. If you do, you’ll have to crop out the image, losing the elements on the sides.

Above, the image was initially set at a 3:2 ratio. But now, since we have ample negative space around our main product, we can crop it at a 1:1 ratio. But if the image was initially set at a 1:1 ratio, the new ratio of 1:2 would have cropped the product itself.

Best Aspect Ratio For Photography

Now that we are aware of what aspect ratio in photography is and why it is important let us learn about the best aspect ratio for photography.

Here, I am sharing some of the most common photography niches and the ratios that fit them the best.

These are not rules but guidelines that you can start with. But if another ratio can do justice to your scene, feel free to try it out.

Landscape photography

Landscape photography aspect ratio

Landscape photography usually captures a wide area that stretches from left to right with ample height. That is why I suggest you use a 3:2 ratio for landscape photography.

It will give you a broad frame that will let you capture more area in one frame. 

Product Photography

Product Photography aspect ratio

Regarding products, the aspect ratio in photography can vary from one product to another. If it is a product with a long width, like a dining table, you can go ahead with 3:2. But if you have a product with a more extended height, the best ratio will be 2:3.

PixelPhant highly suggests you keep the ratio of product images consistent. This enhances your customer experiences and makes your eCommerce look more professional. You can even upload your product images in a 1:1 ratio if you have various categories and sizes in your product.

Portrait photography

Portrait Photography
Aspect Ratio

For portrait photography, you can choose the ratio to be 3:2. It will give you a suitable frame and allow you to easily edit the image. However, suppose you are taking photos for social media. In that case, it is suggested to keep it 4:5. It is a ratio that Instagram and other popular social media sites crop your image before uploading.

Street photography

Street photography is done to capture street fashion. Now due to the versatility of this niche, you’ll likely switch your ratio between 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 5:3, 8:5, and 16:9. But if you want to keep it consistent, you can for 3:2.

It will give you a broad frame you can adjust later during post-production.

Bonus Read

Learning about aspect ratio in photography gives you a good idea of how you want to present your photos. It isn’t something you might think about regularly, but it is better to be aware of the best aspect ratio in photography rather than cropping the elements of your images.

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