I like square photographs and wish my camera shot that way. Recently there’s been a flurry of good online talk about picture shapes.
Back in January, Mike Johnson (AKA The Online Photographer) asked: Why Not Square Sensors? This struck a chord with me, and I echoed it on Twitter. Alex Waterhouse-Hayward emailed me an eloquent little essay, mostly in opposition. I asked him to blog it and now there’s The Perfect Square.
Mike Johnson brought in guest blogger Kirk Tuck to write They stole our choice of aspect ratios. Now we’re getting them back. If you’re arguing about pictures, I think you ought to argue with pictures; so I offer Jon Ellis’ Tokyo Square.
Everybody knows that a square format works well for isolating the subject of a portrait.
But this one, happily square, is about as much unlike a portrait as can be imagined.
Ideally, I’d like the subject matter of a picture to speak as directly as possible to the person looking at it, with as little presentational clutter as possible. I can make an argument that a square presentation represents the minimum possible decoration at the level of shape, and that any departure from it is a choice that you’re imposing on the contents.
I don’t actually believe that. But I do recommend the following practice, which I apply to nearly every photo I edit: Early in the editing process, I jam it into a 1:1 aspect ratio and see if that’s going to work. I don’t always leave it there, but sometimes I do, and some other times I find myself making just a few little adjustments, ending up almost square.
Anyhow, I’d totally love to shoot with a square-sensor camera.