There are lots of image formats that you encounter every day. Most of them correspond to the typical photo format a la 13 x 18 or 10 x 15 cm with their aspect ratio. In this article, we’d like to introduce the different aspect ratios – and show you where to ideally use them.

Optimal aspect ratios for photographers: In many cameras you can already select a certain aspect ratio in the settings, but this is generally not recommended. We recommend that you work with the camera’s standard format to make the best use of the sensor and all available pixels. The decision for the right image format can be made later in Photoshop or Lightroom. You have all the creative freedom and can adjust the desired image section later. In recent years, some image formats have established themselves and have become quasi-standards.

The common image formats in photography

The aspect ratio 3:2 is by far the most common format in photography. This can be traced back to the analog 35 mm film, which was influential with its dimensions of 36 x 24 cm. This gave rise to other standard formats such as 20 x 30 and 10 x 15 cm. The classic 3:2 or 4:3 formats are particularly suitable for portrait photographers and for subsequent printing on common photo paper.

Square photos

Less common but no less exciting are square images. These lend themselves especially well when the subject is square or you want to bring the subject into focus without distractions. The ever-growing social media platform Instagram has brought this image format back into focus.

The widescreen – the special look

The widescreen format is very well suited for landscape shots. If you want to capture a panorama, for example, an aspect ratio of 16:9 , 16:10 or 21:9 is optimal. These formats are also used in television and cinema productions. If you want to give your photos that special “film look”, widescreen is particularly well suited for this.

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