Which Cropping Orientation Works Best With a Vertical Subject?

What’s Your Preferred Orientation?

I struggle to decide which orientation to use when framing a subject with a long vertical image.  There are four approaches:  Landscape, Portrait, Square, or Custom.  For convenience sake lets stick to the first three.  When I was in Miami-Dade County, Florida last month we visited what is affectionately called “The Dump Marsh.”   There was an active landfill nearby with thousands of vultures and gulls swarming around the bulldozers as they spread the latest loads of garbage.  The Dump Marsh was across the street from the landfill, perhaps the ground was excavated to provide the “fill” for the landfill and hole filled with water.  As we walked along the Dump Marsh there were a number of White Ibis wading through the shallow water but one of them had found a small mound of dirt to perch on.  From my vantage point there was a great reflection of the bird so I took a number of shots (did I tell you I like reflection shots?).  Back home I selected what I thought was the best image but I was flummoxed as to how to frame the image.  Below the three orientations of the same shot (to eliminate one variable I vertically centered each of the images).  Please let me know which one you like best and WHY.  I can’t decide so you’ll be helping me out – not only with this one but with others in the future.

1) Landscape Orientation


2) Portrait Orientation


3) Square Frame


Let me know what you think.  I’ll post your responses in a few days.

if you enjoy seeing beautiful pictures of birds from around the world and reading about them Click Here to sign up for our mailing list.  Members can post their GreatBirdPics and learn more about bird photography techniques.

Please Login to comment
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
BurningnaturephotographyLeegramas Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Notify of

I like them all, but I guess number three the best. I like the yoga pose that the bird is executing perfectly!

Burning Nature photography
Burning Nature photography

I’m liking #1 landscape in this series Mike. I like the natural framing from the leaves in the foreground and the reflection. I myself would move the subject more to the viewers left not centered in the frame. This way the bird has looking room as I call it. Just my opinion and not saying anything bad about YOUR shot.