It does not take long to take a picture these days nor is any expensive gear needed for it anymore. Nowadays, smartphones do a great job in photography. But there are still some details, you should know when you want your pictures, for example of your wedding, especially nice because you will show them around a lot of time, and you want to remember the moment forever.
Of course, a smartphone usually has a good camera for everyday life but if you want to have really good pictures, you should still spend some money on a camera. Besides that, there are some technical aspects you should spend time thinking about. For example, the aspect ratio. This is highly important but usually underestimated.
Aspect ratio: What is it and why does it matter?
Aspect ratio means the relation between the height and the width of a picture, and it is usually defined in two numbers that are separated by a colon (e.g., 3:2, 4:3). However, it is not the format, but it is related to the format. If you have an aspect ratio of 3:2 for example, the size of your picture can either be 10 cm x 15 cm, 20 cm x 30 cm, or 40 cm x 60 cm. As you may have already figured, that was also the original aspect ratio, which was historically invented along with analog photography and therefore created those very popular formats.
Now we know what aspect ratio is, but why is it important? The aspect ratio is important because it has some influence on the technical but also aesthetic appearance of your pictures. If you pay attention to the aspect ratio your camera has, you do not have to crop your picture afterward, and even if, and you will have an easier time doing so while keeping it in the right format. This will lead to consistency in your pictures.
Common aspect ratios: The right setting for every platform
There are several aspect ratios, you can take a picture in. One of the most common and popular ones is the 4:5 because it’s Instagram’s vertical portrait ratio. This aspect ratio is therefore a good choice for digital photographs. For a print version of your photos, the aspect ratio 3:2 is often used, and it allows a good amount of space to crop photos online before printing.
The 4:3 aspect ratio, however, has commonly been used for digital photos and computer screens, while the 16:9 is seen on many widescreen TVs, computers, and smartphones. With the 1:1 aspect ratio, you have the opportunity to get your photo in any digital or printed square format.
Depending on how good your photographs turn out, you might want to post them on social media platforms as well. This is another reason why the aspect ratio matters. If you want to post your picture on Facebook, for example, an aspect ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 is the best choice. That also makes it easier to share it on multiple other platforms on the internet.
For Instagram however, to improve your profile stats quickly, you can also choose the aspect ratio of 4:5, as mentioned above already, but 1:1 is also going to work. If you do not want to post your photo on your profile, but rather want to do a story with it, the aspect ratio of 16:9 will be best for that because Instagram is using a long format to fill out the smartphone screen. The same aspect ratio will be best if you want to include your photos in TikTok-Videos.
Adjusting your aspect ratio
Now there is only one last question: How do you adjust the aspect ratio? There are two ways to do it: in-camera and cropping during post-process. As already mentioned, some digital cameras, e.g., from Canon, allow you to change and set the aspect ratio before taking a picture.
If you are not so sure yet where you want to publish your picture, you can also adjust the aspect ratio afterward during the post-process by cropping the picture. Several image editing programs have the option for that. But be aware of it when you take your picture so that you have enough room to crop it afterward.