Why does image orientation matter?

Generally, horizontal or rectangular photos work best on websites. Why? When you’re looking at your laptop or desktop screen, they’re usually shaped like rectangles, so it makes sense to use wider photos to accommodate wider screens. 

If you send portraits-sized or vertical photos, you’ll probably only see a snippet of that photo in the space that we’re using it on your website. That’s because when we’re designing websites, we’re designing them to be responsive for both computers and phones — and usually, that means we need landscape oriented photos. 

We want to give people the best experience no matter what device they’re using, and sometimes that means we have to crop in to give the best visual experience. If you click and drag the corner of your browser screen to make it smaller, you’ll see how photos shift and change sizes as the screen size changes. 

When shooting photos for your website, it’s best practice to shoot as far back as you can (or communicate that with your photographer). That way, if we need to crop in, we can, and if not, we can use the full photo. It always helps to have more room to crop — we can always crop in, but we can’t crop out. If you’re sending photos for your website, it’s best to send the original files so that we have lee-way and can crop them if needed.

There’s a time and place for vertical photos on websites, but usually, the headers at the top of the page (or hero areas) of websites are horizontal. If you were to use a vertical photo there, the user would have to scroll for a long time to get to your content, and that’s not a good user experience. 

Website photos can be tricky because it’s a different way of thinking about photography. But Infomedia is here to help — if you need assistance with shooting photos or choosing photos for your website, contact us and we’re happy to help you either shoot photos or choose what works best.

Samantha Humphries

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