Film School


This monthly article will feature a variety of videography or photography vocabulary, skills, concepts, and activities that readers will be able to apply at their leisure. It's presented by Carla Cipro, a local high school teacher that specializes in video production and photography editing.

This month's article will be a short one. Something that I have noticed, especially in terms of social media, is the question - when is a horizontal photograph appropriate and when is a vertical (portrait style) photograph appropriate?

It comes down to situation and purpose. Is this photograph a post? What is the subject? Is the picture meant for an Instagram story? These questions will determine which style of photograph is the most appropriate.

Horizontal photographs are best for more permanent posts. They are often taken of landscapes or pictures with multiple people in them. A vertical picture used as a post that should encapsulate a larger area, will not serve that subject the justice that you are trying to create.

Vertical photographs are great for Instagram and Facebook stories. Stories last for 24 hours and their template layout is naturally vertical. This is great for a small snapshot of the area you are visiting, to capture your outfit of the day, or a group of friends taking a selfie. It's made for a less formal display, if you want to think about it that way. Vertical photographs are also great for actual portraits. They elongate the subject and if you use the "portrait" mode on your phone, the subject will be clear and the background will be blurred - creating a quite pleasing picture.


The classes that I teach are all about doing. I have found value in learning with active engagement, especially in the creatives department. Therefore, each month readers will be provided an activity to try. It's one thing to read about the skills, and another to try it out yourself. And the more you practice, the better your skills will become!

September's Activity is as follows:

Horizontal vs. Vertical Activity :

Use your cell phone or a regular camera.

  1. Start with one subject - try taking a photograph with it horizontally and then vertically. Which looked better? Why?

  2. Try this with an entirely different subject and reflect on the product. Which style did you like this time and why?

When you are finished, review and reflect on your work and the process. Did your photographs reflect what was written above? Why do think it happened that way?

Lastly, share your results with me! You can either tag the Bellefonte Zine at @bellefontezine or Federalist Studios at @federalist.studios or just send me a message. I can't wait to see what you do!

Carla Cipro owns Federalist Studios and the Bellefonte Zine. She is a local high school teacher that concentrates in video production and photography editing courses. Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Photoshop are her preferred choices of editing software to use with her students and her own work. Carla believes that creativity is important in life because those developing skills help individuals grow and better relationships within themselves, others, and the world around them.

Carla specializes in landscape photography. Follow her work at @federalist.studios on Instagram.