Part 6: Is A Camera’s Aspect Ratio Important? (Tower Theatre / Retro Oklahoma City)

Does aspect ratio really matter? I mean, you can just crop images to any aspect you’d like in post-production, right? I mentioned previously that I used three different cameras in this personal photography project. One of the reasons why I did so was to study how a camera’s aspect ratio affects composition and therefore, the artistic quality of an image.

The cameras I used have the roughly following aspect ratios (length : width).

  • Nikon D700:  4:6
  • Rolleicord:  1:1
  • iPhone 4:  3:4

Consider this scene:

Tower Theatre (iPhone 4, no filters)

Tower Theatre (iPhone 4 + Instagram Filter)

Tower Theatre (Full-Frame D700)

Tower Theatre (Rolleicord / Medium Format / 120 Film)

In this scene, depending on the camera’s aspect:

  • Certain details are included or excluded
  • The viewer’s eye is drawn to different areas
  • Sense of place evolves or devolves
  • Lines of sight change
  • The “story” varies
  • Perspective shifts

I think the camera’s original aspect ratio does matter. Quite a bit. Do you agree? Which is your favorite view?

– HBA

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About Holly Baumann Photography

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, a commercial and portrait photographer based in Central Illinois. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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