I used to shoot with Hasselblad cameras way back in the day. The negatives were square. I cut my teeth on those cameras and since I spent so many years working with Hasselblads, shooting square just came naturally to me.
A Little History
Square format has been around since 1929 when it was introduced by Rollei. There is a rich history of square format photography and it seems to be making a comeback thanks to sharing sites and other mobile apps.
I have started shooting square format again. Roughly 90% of my current images are square. Many digital cameras (including my Fuji X-T1) allow the photographer to deliberately shoot in square format. While I realize you can always shoot wider and crop to square later, theres something to be said for seeing the image that way to begin with. On my Fuji X-T1, when I shoot in square format, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) shows me a square image. You can more easily pre-visualize the finished product when its a WYSIWYG square image in the viewfinder.
Why Shoot Square
And while there are always potential pitfalls, I am trying to make a new habit of looking on the bright side – so here are a partial list of advantages to shooting in square format
(In no particular order)
- Square format photography naturally helps the photographer eliminate distractions and concentrate on the subject.
- The viewers eye stays within the frame and is more likely to move around the image in a circle instead of side-to-side or up-and-down.
- Its easier to achieve a balanced frame because the rule of thirds is less of a factor – i.e., its okay to center your subject.
- The square format makes much better use of the image circle helping to get the most out of your lenses.
- Its easier to fill the frame.
- Simple, subtle compositions are rewarded.
- Its easier to create diptychs and triptychs using square format.
Just for fun, spend a day shooting in square format and let us know what you think.