What Sells: Vertical or Horizontal

The Wave in Vermillion Cliff
Take a look at these shots from The Wave in Arizona. When we are in the field, we sometimes find that a composition works best in either horizontal or vertical orientation. But in most cases, after capturing the most visually appealing image, we try to find another shot that works with the camera turned 90 degrees. Why? Because you never know the actual purpose of the image. What if a buyer is looking for a collection of images for a video production? He is probably going to need horizontal images. If a buyer is looking for photos for a magazine or cell phone background, she will likely need a vertical shot.

The Wave, Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona (AZ), USA
Jay’s image titled Heaven’s Gate is one of the most popular fine art images in his collection. It has sold more times as a large print then any of his other images. But just recently, he sold a vertical image from the same location to the Montana Department of Tourism. The department was looking for a image with vertical orientation to go on the cover page of their 2015 Tourism Guide.

  • Heaven's Gate
  • Path of Light

In today’s age of mobile devices, there are plenty of uses for both orientations. Horizontal images are used as background displays on desktop and laptop monitors, while vertical images are used for background displays on cell phones.

Since you never know who may want to purchase your images or for what purpose, you can’t know which orientation will work best for their needs. Shoot in both orientations and you’ll be ready no matter what.