Unleash the ratio
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be overconservative when it comes to cropping my images. Somewhere in my mind is this absurd little voice that forces me not to deviate from the ‘out-of-camera’ ratio of 3:2. So even when a different ratio would lead to a result that is more pleasing to the eye, I refrain from doing so. I have no idea where this irritating habit of mine finds its origin. Maybe I’m just too tidy a person. Nah, can’t be.

Anyway, only recently have I allowed other ratios to slip into my image archive. But I make sure the number of different ratios remains small and manageable. By know, I am the proud owner of several panoramic images with 2:1 and 3:1 ratios. I even have a few panoramic images composed of multiple shots that have a 4:1 ratio. You could call me a daredevil.

It may just be a matter of time before the first square image or, for cryin’out loud, a 4:3 image might slip through the cracks and live its life to the fullest on my external harddisk. I’ll let you know as soon as I have taken this dangerously enormous risk, if I live to tell, that is.

But seriously: sometimes it pays to look beyond the regular, everyday 3:2 ratio. Too often the sky or foreground in a landscape photograph is not interesting enuogh to take up all this space in your carefully composed image. In such cases, just be hard-boiled on those redundant pixels and crop the crap.

Frozen heathland panorama; Canon 1D Mark III w. 70-200/4; 1/500s at F8 and ISO 100; Gitzo tripod


  • I do not completely agree. Landscape photography is all about looking for a composition with an interesting foreground and sky.
    If the sky is unintresting, maybe it is better to come back another day when weather is changeable, giving you an interesting sky.

  • ..and not just cropping pixels away.
    Stitching images is a better option, I think, that way you will be keeping enough resolution.

  • Hi guys

    I agree with comment nr 1!
    Do not know your wrote is but its really a good issue what he/she says!

  • Thanks for the discussion guys, much appreciated.

    I completely agree that we should strive to make the perfect composition in the field. But what seems like a good shot on the camera display can be disappointing once home behind the pc, e.g. because of a boring sky. A panoramic crop can then save the day.

    The image shown is still of a very high resolution (full width) and can be printed really big if necessary.

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