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Most of my photography work is corporate-commercial which means I’m often shooting environmental portraits, interiors, or whatever for a pre-determined output; like brochures, reports and, most commonly, websites. There’s no doubt that having a strong visual to accompany your website is an important factor of design, and sometimes the framework of that website needs the image to conform to very specific dimensions. This can become complicated as most cameras produce images within a 2:3 frame (some are 4:5), whereas a prevailing website design trend is moving towards very wide-format images. Cropped to a framework like facebook’s cover photo at 820×312 pixels which is more like 10:3. That’s essentially 1/3rd of an entire image taken with a 35mm SLR, so making sure you know the intended output beforehand is very important.
The two images above were both taken for Career Cruising (though not necessarily the ones they ended up using). Their website is committed to provided individuals access and views into thousands of different potential professions. They work with dozens of photographers all over the country to photograph real people in those roles. What that means for the photographer is that we don’t get to control the location completely, and need to work around a spot while still delivering images to their website banner dimensions. Those photos aren’t even cropped as heavily as the final output needs to be. You can see that below:
I’m no stranger to producing wide images. Years ago I played around with creating panorama’s (more than a single image, stitched together in Photoshop) to allow a wider frame with my subjects. Thankfully most modern digital cameras have enough pixels that we can cut out more than half the image and still have enough to meet up to the 4,000 pixel needs of 4k monitors so, as long as I pay attention to how my subjects are positioned in relation to each-other or what they’re doing, the creative directors and graphic designers are able to make the image work.
Not all specifications are “widescreen,” sometimes they just need a flexible composition that works well in both horizontal and vertical (often for mobile websites) orientations.