I print square with the paper in portrait mode so that even just in a portfolio it has white space around it and more space below than above. Usually printing 6 3/4 to 7 1/4 square and thus the print has a finished look to it and it is actually easier to mat and frame as the window of the mat does not have to be as exact as I have the white of the paper showing.
I compose for the square as that is one of the major reasons I shoot with a Hasselblad or a Rolleichord instead of a 645 or 67. I also shoot 35mm and LF and in each case compose for the frame I have. Of course sometimes I compose with cropping in mind and sometimes I crop in the darkroom as I decide a different aspect improves the image but for the most part I try to be full frame. I do not think I am a slave to the aspect ratio of the camera rather I choose the camera for its aspect ratio whenever practical. I also just happen to love the square format of 6X6 and the more square ratio of the 4X5 over 5X7 or 35mm.
If you wish to crop to any other ratio or always print full page and let the paper decide, that is your choice. If however you do end up cropping a high percentage of your images to a more "standard" ratio in the landscape orientation than perhaps the 645 back or a 645 camera is more suited to you.
My camera formats = 6X6cm & 4X5. Sometimes I print square with the 6X6 negatives but that format gives me a leeway for a vertical or horizontal. After a while it becomes second nature to compose with a little extra on top or bottom or either side or square. It wasn't mentioned which lens was to be used.
I am sure the majority of the photos I have taken using a square format have ended up printed to a rectangular image. I look at square format as providing a rotating image frame, without need for any rotation :).
That being said, I do have images that I have shot on square format and printed square - where the subjects themselves dictate that.
I like and use a grid screen to help with composing my shots.
But how many different formats are there in your portfolio, Dann?
Originally Posted by Cesaraugusta
How many ways can you cut a piece of photographic paper? ;-)
Originally Posted by Q.G.
I do not have a portfolio. But, if you like, give me a couple months and I will print one just for you.
Choosing a camera for the rectangular format? Emmm, since I like shooting with a medium size TLR, just what camera choices are there.
Square is for squares! ;) Just kidding. What ever you think is right is what you should do. The rectangle is more common I think, in cameras and paintings, but it really doesn't matter, a particular photo and the way you see it, is what you do.
There is nothing to prevent a person shooting with a 4x5 to crop and make prints, say, 8x8, if they think it makes a better picture.
I don't see this as only one way is right or if you shoot a certain way, you must get a matching camera. Two people may have different composing ideas, neither one needs to be wrong for the other to be right. Silly.
Interesting discussion. I shoot mostly in a 6x9 format (35mm or 645) or 6x6. I mostly print full frame unless I screwed up and ended up with something distracting in the corner of the frame. When I first started, though, I was the one saying that the format shouldn't dictate the print proportion. What changed? In my case, I think I simply improved my compositional skills and I could better utilize the full frame....or it was laziness as I started matting and framing more...(: I used to shoot 4x5, but I never got the point with that format where I tended to use the entire frame and I still tend to print 4x5 either square or longer and narrower. I think I simply never became skilled in composing in that aspect ratio. I'd be curious to know if I am the only one who followed that progression or whether I am an anomaly.
Oh, and do get a 4 bladed easel if you want to print square. It makes life easier and allows for wider borders.
No, actually, there's not. There's only laziness in neglecting to consider what it is you want in your image, regardless of the particular camera/format you happen to be holding.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
There's nothing more or less authentic about a print from a full-frame or with a crop, or more or less lazy. Useless dogma can be extremely limiting, and we shouldn't contribute to giving people some needless complex about cropping to make the image they want to make. Some people might work better with a "full frame only" monkey on their backs, but others might not, and that's FINE.
Everyone can shoot in different ways and it's no less valid-we should focus on result more than process.
(And this is coming from a guy who loves 6x6 and usually prefers a square, and a full-frame at that...I just don't think it has to be this way all the time for me, or for other people.)
Edit: To the point of the thread, I'm firmly with the "square printing gives me a test strip with every sheet of paper" crowd...
I don't start out with any pre-conceived notions of how I'm going to print things. When I use a sqare format camera, sometimes I see things that fit the square nicely, and I'll compose for that. Other times, I see a rectangle; the proportions of which may or may not fit the standard aspect ratios one finds in pre-cut papers. That's ok. I'm not against cropping, nor am I against printing full frame. It all depends on what you see and what looks best. In some respects, the square is perfect. It can go landscape, portrait, or square. That's what 4 bladed easels and paper cutters are for. But yeah, decide what you want first, and this is easily done with a china marker or a sharpie on a contact print - or even something as simple as two "L" shaped pieces of cardboard that you can use to mask off portions of the frame while looking for a good composition to print. Then trim your paper and use the offcuts for test patches or strips.
Bottom line? I don't let the shape of the frame determine the image. I just compose within that frame to get what I want to print..