I took the photo above way back in May 2010. I went to Huichapan for the weekend and was in an experimental mood. I shot the weekend in black and white. I also switched the format to 16:9. Widescreen photography. The set itself was a pretty bland bunch of snaps. I switched back to colour when I got home. Black and white is nice, with the right shot, but it’s not necessary to shoot in that mode. You can convert into black and white pretty easily in post processing. You can’t so easily add colour.
But from that point I continued to shoot in the widescreen format. I didn’t see many (ie no) photographers on Flickr shooting in 16:9. I was fairly convinced that this would become a more popular format going forward. Roll on three years though, and there’s still very few people shooting 16:9. That’s to say, pretty much no one I know. I seem to be the sole photographer that I know of shooting in this way. A quick search of Flickr Groups does suggest that I’m not totally alone though.
I’m surprised, and then again I’m not. Cameras seem to be set at 3:2 by default, and people do tend to stick with defaults. If they didn’t, Internet Explorer would have ceased to exist a long time ago. I can think of only two ‘cons’ to shooting widescreen. Firstly, I became very focused on shooting 16:9 landscape, for the reasons below, and stopped shooting any other format. Sometimes a crop is in order. Secondly, a lot of photo sites now display ‘rolling walls’ of your photographs, where a mish-mash of formats looks much better. There are some really big advantages to shooting widescreen though, and those advantages are becoming more pronounced all the time.
- Many cameras do now have 16:9 LCD monitors. Why not make the most of it?
- We view our photos mostly on PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. The vast majority of which are widescreen devices. Why not fill those screens with your images?
- More and more devices make it possible to view your photos on TVs. I’ve got bought a new Sky NowTV box which integrates Flickr. Guess what format most TVs are?
- Shooting video? You’ll almost certainly be doing so at a 16:9 format. Want to add a photo? Shoot photography in 16:9 and you’ll not need to crop the image.
- Our eyes view the world in a widescreen manner. It’s the natural mode to shoot in.
- It just looks plain better!