What is the Difference Between Landscape and Portrait

The main difference between landscape and portrait is that a landscape image layout is horizontal, whereas a portrait image layout is vertical. In simple words, a landscape image orientation has a higher length than its height, while a portrait image orientation has a higher height than its length.

Both the terms landscape and portrait have existed since the beginning of times in the field of photography. Even when you are performing a simple task like taking a printout of a document or a photo, you have to know the difference between landscape and portrait.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Landscape 
      – Definition, Features
2. What is a Portrait
     – Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Landscape and Portrait
     – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Landscape and Portrait
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Landscape, Photography, PortraitDifference Between Landscape and Portrait - Comparison Summary

What is Landscape

Landscape refers to the horizontal camera orientation used in photographing. Landscape orientation is frequently used to capture natural landscapes. Similar to your television that stands horizontally, the top and bottom edges of a landscape photograph are always longer than the height of the sides.

Landscape vs Portrait

In brief, the elements you observe inside a landscape photograph are comparatively longer and broader than they are taller. Consider you’re viewing a sandy beach with a clear blue sky above and the blue ocean extending beyond the horizon in the foreground. To capture most of these best elements as much as possible, you will have to hold your camera in landscape orientation.

What is Portrait

A portrait is when you hold your camera vertically, allowing the frame of the image to sit vertically. In a portrait, the side edges are longer than the width of the top and bottom edges.

As the term itself suggests, a portrait is the best and the ideal option you may use if you are capturing portraits of people. In such cases, the human body appears naturally taller than it is wider, so your photo will look phenomenally natural and original.

Compare Landscape and Portrait

For instance, imagine you are shooting a baby’s face. Obviously, it is taller than it is wider. When taking a baby’s headshot or capturing the portrait of his face, you may naturally include the face, hair and neck.  The combination of these elements makes the figure taller than wider, allowing you to capture your best shot in the portrait orientation.

Similarities Between Landscape and Portrait

  1. Both the terms have existed since the beginning of times in the field of photography.
  2. These terms come alive through the creative eye of a photographer.

Difference Between Landscape and Portrait


The term ‘landscape’ refers to an orientation layout where the length of the photograph, a document, or an object is longer than its height. In contrast, the term ‘portrait’ refers to a layout where the height of the object, photograph or document is longer than its length.


The landscape layout has a horizontal orientation, while the portrait layout comes in a vertical orientation.


Landscape format is mainly used to capture the natural landscapes, things, or people in a horizontal or rectangular shape and design, while portrait orientation mainly captures the images of the individuals, objects, or documents.

Space Differences

If you capture natural scenery into a landscape shot, you will naturally feel the image is more spacious and that it allows you to breathe freely. The same image captured in the portrait orientation would leave you with a more restricted and limited feeling about space.

Difference in Focus

If you step closer to your subject and fill your frame with your subject, giving it a more vertical portrait, it will make your subject appear taller and striking. In brief, on a portrait shot, your focus will be totally on the subject. On the other hand, if you step a little back and film the same subject within the landscape format, including more of the background, the main element will lose its dominance.


The main difference between landscape and portrait is that a landscape image layout is horizontal, whereas a portrait image layout is vertical. However, in a landscape shot, the viewer may observe more of the background, which directly provides a greater context for the element in the shot. However, a portrait shot usually avoids context. Consequently, the subject captured becomes more mysterious to the viewer.


1. Caputo, Robert. “Landscape Photography Tips.” Photography, National Geographic, 3 May 2021.
2. Singh, Gurpreet. “Portrait Photography – 16 Top Tips To Create Great Portraits.” Pixpa.

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About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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