Over the past few weeks I have described the basics of compositional rules, actions points and circular motion and how powerful these tools are. Now I need to address the most critical aspect of applying these rules The Image Format.

You can see what happens when you build a composition and then change the format or cropping: the guidelines and action points shift dramatically, and what may be a well composed image in one format is poorly composed in another.

You need to know what size and format your final image will be before you build your composition:

8x10 is the most common format in our industry, but people use 8.5x11, 11x14 or 4x6 as well.
4x6 is the format of the 35mm frame; this is what you see when you look through your cameras viewfinder.
Whatever format you choose be sure you know it will fit into your portfolio pages and your website gallery.

If you’re working with a photographer tell them what size you want your final prints to be at the beginning of the shoot.

Please make sure your web designer is on board with this as well; I have seen wonderful shots ruined because a web designer cropped the image to fit their site template rather than show the composition we worked so hard to build.


Check out my other Tricks of the Trade articles on my blog by following these links:







composition, cropping, image format, tricks of the trade
AuthorDean Birinyi