“Do You Have a Horizontal Version?”

Early Morning Snow at Bryce Canyon

Early Morning Snow at Bryce Canyon

I was reminded once again this week that having both horizontal and vertical versions of the same scene can be the difference between dollars in your pocket and nothing at all. Magazine editors usually prefer vertical photos for the cover. Calendar editors usually want horizontal photos (depending on the format of the calendar).

One of my favorite images of Bryce Canyon happens to be online in a vertical format (see below). A potential client contacted me this week about that particular image, but the photo is for a calendar so only a horizontal will do. Some photos only work (at least to my eye) as a horizontal or a vertical but whenever possible I shoot both. I have other horizontal images of Bryce Canyon online, but the light isn’t the same as in my early morning version.  So I went back through my files, and sure enough, I found a horizontal version in the same light with the same tree on the left and from almost exactly the same location. I optimized the file (every image should be optimized) and posted it online. The client likes it and it has been selected for the calendar.

Some of my photography students have been approached by photo editors looking for a photo and asked for a different format than the one they originally shot. They learned the hard way that it often doesn’t work to crop a horizontal out of a vertical photo and vice versa, either esthetically in terms of composition, or in terms of the needed image resolution. Even if you can go back to the same location and do it again, the light is rarely the same as the magical moment that caused you to create the image in the first place. So some of my students missed out on being published (and getting paid) because they didn’t remember to shoot both.

You already know the moral to this story. The next time you are working a beautiful scene, be sure to shoot both horizontal and vertical versions.

Early Morning Snow at Bryce Canyon

Early Morning Snow at Bryce Canyon


You can see my other Bryce Canyon photos in this Utah gallery. You can order fine art prints from the same gallery.

Do you love landscape and nature photography? Are you ready to take your photography to the next level? Jeremy Bruskotter and I are doing our annual nature photography weekend for The Ohio State University’s  prestigious Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island (Lake Erie). Details here.

If you prefer learning by books, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies is one of the highest rated photo books at Amazon.com. The opening chapters cover beginning and advanced photo techniques.  Later chapters cover landscape, wildlife, and wildflower photography (plus more topics). Learn more here and order it at Amazon.com.

The best “how to” nature and landscape photography books.