Shooting Vertical Images and Battery Grips
Why take vertical images?
On a regular basis, I shoot both vertical and horizontal images of the scene. There are many reasons why this is so, but the main reason I do it is that magazines and books often use a lot of vertical images. Books are mostly horizontal; magazine covers are usually vertical. Web sites, which tend to use horizontal images more often, are an exception.
In a world that focuses on horizontal photography, vertical images stand out. This is partly because most cameras are made to be held horizontally. My experience has shown me that my right wrist hurts after a long day of vertical shooting.
These photos are displayed on our horizontal computer monitors while we watch videos on our flat TVs. This could change with the help of new tools such as iPads and smartphones with rotating screens that can accommodate both horizontal and vertical images.
The subject matter can also make a big difference. In an interest to see the 2,425 French photographs that I have in my stock portfolio, 1053 are verticals (roughly 43%). This seems to be a good result, as many subjects are well covered for multiple uses. Another example is when I looked at photos of live music performances. I found that approximately 75% of the images I took were verticals. This is a good thing for me, as I often shoot images of performers, and these tend to be vertical.
Analyzing your shooting habits can help you identify areas where you need to change. Only 25% of the aerial photos I take are verticals, in my opinion. Although this is not a good result, many aerial photos I sell are horizontals. However, it would be quite expensive to shoot both vertical and horizontal images of all subjects. This is why I upgraded to Nikon D800. With its 36.3 megapixel sensor, I can crop horizontal aerial photos to verticals if necessary.
It’s a stock perspective. If I have both vertical and horizontal images of the same scene, I can likely increase my chances of selling. From a compositional perspective, I find that vertical images are often stronger. Perhaps we should return to square shooting, as the Hasselblads were great tools and the images were outstanding because of their uniqueness.
What is your preference? Do you prefer horizontal or vertical? Perhaps you should explore verticals if you don’t shoot them.
Do you want a vertical grip for easier shooting? Although professional cameras with high-end features have both a vertical and horizontal grip, these cameras can be very expensive (in the $6,000 range) as well as very heavy. You can also buy a battery grip that includes a vertical shutter release from many DSLR manufacturers, such as Canon and Nikon. They can be put on when you need additional power or vertical shutter release and removed if you want a lighter or compacter system. Many manufacturers also make aftermarket battery grips at very affordable prices. One of these grips I purchased for my Nikon D800. It is not as well made as to the Nikon, but it has worked great and has never caused me any problems.
When I have the opportunity to use my battery grip to my advantage, I carry my battery grip with me. It is worth it to me, for example, when I shoot live music vertically because I can use the extra weight. I find it easier to set the camera down and not have to carry the extra weight around. All the D800 grips have an extra battery, which makes it easier to change batteries. This is especially important if you shoot video from boats or planes. There’s nothing worse than running low on power right before the crucial moment. Many photographers have these grips attached permanently to their cameras. When I travel light, I leave the grip at home. I also need to be careful with how much gear I have or when using a tripod. Don’t use a grip if you don’t need it.