We as human beings have evolved to see things horizontally. Our field of view spans about 200 degrees side to side, though much of that is peripheral vision, while our vertical sight range is around 150 degrees. Yet we insist on taking photos with our cellphones vertically. It’s not a problem with DSLR cameras because, while they can be turned vertically, they’re built to be held horizontally.
But cellphones are designed to be held in the vertical position so that one can make a phone call easily. It’s this up and down design makes one-handed picture taking easy.
When you turn your phone sideways, it’s much more difficult to use it with one hand. It almost necessitates using your phone with both hands. We’ve all done it: held the phone between thumb and forefinger in one hand, with the other fingers held up daintily, while we press the shutter button on the screen with a finger of the other hand. Why do that when you can just hold the phone vertically and take a picture all with a single hand?
The problem is that we see most things horizontally. For example, If you’re taking a photo of a group of friends who are posed in a horizontal setup, then you have to back up to get them all in the frame. This makes them appear smaller because their father away, plus it also creates a lot of empty, unused space, compositionally speaking, at the top and bottom of the picture.
By simply turning the phone sideways, you can often get closer to your subjects and eliminate unwanted visual clutter at the same time.
When shooting an image of nature it’s often best when shot horizontally. There’s a reason that they call it "landscape" mode. We look at a mountain range, or a sunset on the sea, we usually see a panorama that goes side to side.
When photographing a portrait, shooting vertically tends to be preferable when there are only a few people (1 to 3), but when the group gets larger, shooting horizontally becomes a necessity to get everyone in frame.
Of course, there are times when shooting vertically is necessary. Subjects such as trees, tall buildings or flag poles by themselves lend themselves to a vertical composition. But if try think about how to get the most out of each frame when taking pictures with your cellphone then I’m willing to bet most of your photos will be shot horizontally.
Contact photographer Clifford Oto at (209) 546-8263 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/otoblog