Creativity Exercise: Go Vertical

As humans, we see the world horizontally, as does our camera. When we walk around and go about our daily lives, we naturally look side to side, not up and down. We read left to right (or right to left). Our eyes are side by side. Horizontal images are calming and comfortable to us as they mimic the horizon we are used to seeing.

As storytellers, it is often easier to convey the stories we want to tell horizontally as this is how we normally see the world before us. But this week, we are turning the camera and are going vertical!


Vertical compositions emphasize the height of objects and can give the sense of power, strength and growth. Subjects with strong vertical lines - buildings, poles, trees - can all be perceived as powerful. You can emphasize depth showing the foreground, middle ground and background in a vertical image. You can also emphasize growth and height - trees, plants, people. 

It's not a coincidence that vertical images are referred to as portrait orientation. The traditional portraits hanging on walls, magazine covers, school photos are all shot vertically. 


If you don’t turn your camera very often, it can take some getting used to! A few tips:

  • If you have strong vertical lines, be careful not to split your image in half by placing the subject in the middle of the frame. Keep the rule of thirds in mind or fill your frame. 

  • Think about layering to add depth. 

  • Think about the story you want to tell and what is important within the vertical frame - what do you want to include and exclude from your image. What is the feeling you are trying to convey?

  • Try shooting traditional portraits. 

  • Try coming in tight and capturing a close-up.


Try and capture as many vertical images as you can this week and be sure to tag us with #unscriptedmentoring on IG so we can find you and share some love! As always, have fun and happy shooting!

- Jenny