Aim: The aim of this exercise is to challenge the automatic reaction to take horizontal pictures and to demonstrate the virtues of shooting vertically by taking 20 vertical shots and repeating these horizontally.
Plan: I spent the day in Manchester city centre which has a wealth of subjects in a fairly compact area. Where the subject was not static, I took the vertical and horizontal images at the same time so I did not lose the comparison.
Results: First off, I've always liked taking images in portrait and don't naturally settle for the landscape format. I did tend to search for vertical subjects as this was the first set of pictures, but was surprised by the resulting horizontal comparison. Many of the images that I assumed would be good vertically looked just as good horizontally despite the fact I had chosen them as good vertical subjects. The following contact sheet gives 20 examples of horizontal and vertical pairs of images.
A tall subject such as the yellow building above may seem tall in you mind but when you are close to it the perspective means that the scene is in fact wider than it is tall. My immediate reaction was to shoot this vertically but the horizontal is more dramatic as it allows the sides of the building to lead in from the corners. It is a much stronger image, defining the blocks of colour on the side of the building.
Trying to fit a subject into a format that does not work only leaves you with an image with unwanted distractions or a poorly framed shot. It is best not to prejudge but to automatically view a subject in any number of ways (not just vertical or horizontal) before deciding on the final shot.