Taking Vertical Photographs: Tips and Tricks

Vertical photographs have a height bigger than their width. These images are also regarded as some of the best examples of portrait photography in which the focus is on the face rather than the backdrop. Professional photographers typically put their cameras in vertical format when they are focusing on a specific subject or element of a scenery. Vertical photographs actually have a tendency to highlight a specific person or thing by drawing attention to it in contrast to all other elements accompanying it. They may have less ability to record visual data, but they can often emphasize a picture’s dynamic qualities.

Vertical photography has been gaining popularity in recent times due to the widespread use of social media platforms like Instagram, where the photo is typically cropped to be viewed on the vertical screen of a smartphone. So using vertical orientation while shooting images has become a common practice for people who want to share their photographs on social media. Vertical photographs are also becoming popular in stock photography. This means even if you don’t work as a professional photographer, there are some tips and tricks you should be aware of when taking vertical photographs to make the best shot. Some of them include the following.

Get close and low

Getting close and low emphasizes the visual strength of the leading lines. It also significantly enhances the visual importance of foreground elements. To get really close to the surface, say the ground level if you are shooting a landscape photo you are going to have to utilize a tripod without a center column. You can also use this tripod trick when you are doing vertical tabletop photo shoots.

Get close and high

By going above the foreground objects and framing vertically while employing an ultra-wide lens, it is easier to capture the entire expanse of a scenery and emphasize the visual aspects of the picture. In this case, the tripod you are using should extend significantly higher than the elevation of the subject. After you set your tripod at the appropriate height, you should angle your camera downwards to make an expansive shot.

Break down your composition

The rule of thirds is a big deal in photography, be it vertical or horizontal. According to this guideline, the subject of the photograph should be in the right or left third of the picture, keeping the other (2/3)rd more open. Although there are alternative compositional methods, following this rule often gives well-composed and compelling shots. You can apply this principle and divide your vertical shot into three visual zones namely the foreground, the mid-ground, and the background. All these zones should be of importance in a strong vertical composition. Doing this will create a well-balanced and interesting shot.

Leave open space

When you are shooting vertical photographs it is not necessary to fill your entire image with objects or visual elements. This is especially true if you are taking pictures that will be used as stock photos. Many of these stock images end up as marketing or design materials with some text added to the vacant zones. So leaving a bit of space in your photograph will make it more appealing to marketers and website designers.

Try out telephoto verticals

If you are really into shooting landscapes, especially mountains, telephoto verticals can be a very appealing compositional choice for you. You can more successfully utilize telephoto compression since the longer edge is aligned tip to base. This is done by accentuating the height disparity present throughout the image and incorporating a higher degree of foreground into the image frame with greater focal lengths.

Get an L-Bracket

Purchasing this accessory is not an absolute must, especially if you have a good tripod that will enable you to swiftly change orientations while still keeping level. But having an L-bracket will make changing orientations a lot simpler. This eliminates the need to flip the mounting point of the ballhead when attaching the camera for vertical shots.


While you can easily crop horizontal photographs and make them vertically oriented, it is preferable to always take the shot vertically rather than alter it later. This is due to the fact that cropping an image would reduce its size. It can lead to issues like a reduction in quality. Also, anytime you snap a horizontal picture, you are planning the composition for that specific photograph. You can no longer optimize it for vertical alignments when you try to crop it afterward. If you are confused about the better orientation, always try taking your images in both vertical and horizontal orientations. After all, your aim is to create the best possible photograph.

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