When graphic designers work on a publication or an advertisement they know exactly the amount of words or characters that the copywriter has to put the message across. This ensures that they don’t have to redesign the piece again or that they need to alter the text themselves, which wouldn’t add to the quality of the content. If it is a new publication or campaign, also the photographer gets briefed on the preferred atmosphere of the photographs, style and content. Usually this also comprises the aspect ratio of the image in the media. This ensures that the composition of the photo seemlessly fits into the frame determined by the designer. In graphic design aspect ratios of 2:3, both landscape and portrait are used but also 3:4, 4:5 or 1:1. Webdesigers give themselves more freedom.
What applies to a well designed media tool in print also applies to the web. Difficulty in webdesign these days is the different aspect ratio’s of the devices that visitors use when they visit a webpage. A portrait held smartphone or a 24″ monitor makes a tremendous amount of difference in the layout of a page that will change with responsive websites. The discipline that most graphic designers have when instructing an advertising photographer for their publication is something that you rarely see with most webdesigners and that is a shame. In addition to the above mentioned aspect ratios, in webdesign often 1:3 is used for for instance scrollling banners. This is the top band on a (home)page that changes everytime the page is visited or is controlled with a slideshow.
A photographer is trained to compose an image within the frame he has in his camera, usually 2:3 for DSLR’s or 3:4 and 4:5 for medium format camera’s or digital backs for technical-view camera’s. The are also trained to utilize as much as possible from the pixels they have available on their sensor. This for maximum resolution and image quality. So they will tend to frame tightly, leaving no room for the web or graphic designer to re-frame or crop the image.
As the aspect ratio 1:3 is used often on homepage banners, it makes sense to let the photographer know this up front to make sure ther composition fits the frame.
Fortunately, professional photographers will usually ask for this information before they start a job. Well at least that applies to the commercial and advertising photographers of STUDIOVHF. The photographers work from the photo studio near Zwolle in The Netherlands. They specialise in commercial and advertising photography, corporate photography including industrial photography and product and interiors.
Please visit the website to get inspiration for your future marketing communication media.