Long before the rise of Instagram, square format film cameras from Rolleiflex and Hasselblad were held in high esteem by photo enthusiasts. Indeed the square image is part of a long image-making tradition in visual arts. And one that every photographer - new or experienced - should explore.
There are dedicated camera apps, for both Android and iOS, that let you shoot in a square format. Framing in a square opens up some creative possibilities but can obviously present a significant challenge if you're used to composing with your smartphone's 4:3 ratio rectangle. At the outset you're likely to feel that a square frame is just too tight and you don't have enough room to capture all the parts of the scene.
Shooting "square" does involve a different way of looking at the photo opportunities around you. I'd recommend you start with images you've already captured and try cropping them to a 1:1 format. This is a great way to learn to identify compositions and subject matter that work well as square images.
Pretty soon, you'll find that square compositions can work well for a wide variety of shooting styles. Whether you're into portraiture, street photography, architecture or are simply drawn to abstract colors and textures, the square format can provide the impetus for a more creative approach to your work. Below, I've given just a few examples of how the format can be used to interesting effect.
But don't take my word for it, revisit some of your existing images and see how they look as you crop them in a 1:1 format. See what types of images look better to you after cropping. Then go out and start shooting some "squares." It's a great way to expand your creative options.
|National Gallery of Art by Kukla|
from Your City - Black and White (in colour!)
|Hummingbird and Bee by dibilio57|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|The Snowy Egret by Lee8282|
from Color - Monochrome
|Skate Boarder dpr-0927 by vbuhay|
from Skateboarding Cover shot