A vs B: Horizontal or Vertical


Went out for a bike ride yesterday around Bellingham, Wash.. While riding around, I stopped by Squalicum Harbor for a few shots as it was a beautiful day.

Using my Nikon D300s with my Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8 lens, I shot some wonderful purple flowers with the harbor as the background. To darken the skies and add a little saturation, I added my B+W polarizing filter.

Both were shot on full manual: Shutter: 1/4000th      Aperture: f/4     White Balance: Daylight     ISO: 200

Which one of these two do you like better? And Why? What is it that makes it a better photo for you?

A: Horizontal

© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography - Purple flowers form a base for the masts of boats moored at  Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon July 16, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography – Purple flowers form a base for the masts of boats moored at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon July 16, 2015.

B: Vertical

© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography - Purple flowers form a base for the masts of boats moored at  Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon July 16, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography – Purple flowers form a base for the masts of boats moored at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon July 16, 2015.

For me personally, I like B: Vertical better for these reasons:

  • Shallow depth of field: This keeps your eye on the flowers.
  • This gives it a sense of place without the distraction of the boats.
  • The masts repeat the pattern of the flowers better.
  • It would make a better magazine cover – Plenty of room for the flag (Magazine title) and text.

But the strengths of A: Horizontal are not to be dismissed:

  • The flow of the photo from left to right.
  • The flowers add a good frame, or base, for the boats.
  • The masts and flowers are haphazard and mismatched (a good quality to keep repetition from being boring).
  • The layering of the flowers, the mast, the city, the sky.
  • Your eye wanders all over the photo but still finds its way back to the flowers.
  • It would make a great double truck spread in a magazine.

Which one is your favorite and why?

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Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Paul Conrad is an award-winning, nationally and internationally published freelance editorial photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, AirBnB, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.

His specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

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3 comments

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for responding. Both were shot at f/4, so these are a good example of how your focus point affects your depth-of-field. I know you know that because I’ve been following your work for quite some time.

      Have a great day and thanks again!!!

      Like

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