The tech world is awash with excitement because Instagram (over 300 million users) now supports photos and video uploaded in traditional landscape and portrait mode, instead of just square. Oddly, I think Instagram did the mobile web a favor by pushing for us to upload in the square format.
In Praise of Square Photos
Photographers and artists are already grumbling at me, I’m sure. But hear me out.
We are a mobile-first world now. We create and share more from our phones and tablets than we do our desktops (by far!). In that world, we most often hold our phones in the portrait mode, so you’d figure that’d be the best way to go. But we often use our tablets in landscape mode. So who’s right? Neither. That’s why square works. It’s the same either way.
Square photos fill enough of the screen to be satisfying without us feeling like we’re “missing” something. It’s a lot harder to compose for the square version of something, however, because we’re mostly designed to think in landscape mode. That’s how life presents itself. And yet, we’ve adapted pretty well.
Not Just Being a Contrarian
Some days, I feel like “old man Brogan” for having the opinions I do. I don’t like the live streaming apps all that much. I don’t like the new Instagram choice to include portrait and landscape modes (though I’ll survive). But I’m not just being a contrarian for the sake of it.
The question I ask with EVERY consideration for what I post for you is the same: will this help you grow your business in some way.
To me, square photos “worked” a lot “easier” than taking the time to think about shot composition. You had basically one format. Square. Not that it’s a LOT of work to think about how to shoot in portrait or landscape mode. But you follow. Will having the option of landscape mode change your business? Not unless you’re a photographer, maybe.
But It’s Okay. We Will Survive
The story-underneath-the-story is that we’re all using mobile devices far more than our desktops. What that means TO YOU is that you must design everything mobile-first, including newsletters, blog posts, and whatever else you’re creating. Think that it will be viewed on the small screen more often than not.
That’s the story. Stay square.
Or don’t. 🙂