I never paid much attention to the aspect ratio of my photos, until a photographer friend suggested I try changing one of my pictures to a 4x5 ratio instead of the original 3x2, which can look pretty bland sometimes.
He was right. It made the photo look much more interesting. Since that day, trying different ratios has become a regular part of my post-production workflow.
In most cases a tighter ratio will focus the viewers’ attention on a specific part of the frame – the part I want them to focus on. It helps exclude superfluous and distracting elements.
But also, there seems to be something artistic to certain aspect ratios. Take 4x5, for example. Often when I use it, it makes the photo look more “artsy”. I don’t know how, exactly, but it does.
The square format, too, has its very own appeal. And 16x9, one of my personal favorites, wonderfully underscores the effect of wide open spaces and landscapes.
So, do play around with aspect ratios, whether it is in post-production or in camera, while you shoot. It can have a profound effect on your images and take them to the next level.