What Is the Aspect Ratio of a Portrait Photo? & Its Importance

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Every image has an ideal photo aspect ratio, be it a landscape photo, portrait photo, or still-life photo. It must be challenging to ensure a correct aspect ratio for your photographs if you’re a photographer. Learning what an aspect ratio is and what aspect ratio is suitable for your photos makes a large part of efficient photography skills.

So, what is the photo aspect ratio of a portrait photo?

An ideal camera aspect ratio for a portrait photo will be 3:2 or 2:3, depending on whether you want that picture in a vertical or landscape format. 

The best way of taking a good picture is to remember what will be the final format of the image. Will it be printed, or will it be posted on social media platforms? The final destination of the photo can help you choose the best photo aspect ratio for portrait pictures. 

What Is an Aspect Ratio In Photography?

In simple terms, a photo aspect ratio is a term used to depict the relationship between the height and width of a photograph. It is always written by putting two numbers with a colon sign between them. The width of the photo is generally written first and then followed by the heigh of the photo, i.e. (W: H).

For instance, if the photo’s height is 12 cm and the photo’s width is 18 cm, then the photo aspect ratio is (W: H) = 18:12, i.e., 3:2. 

Aspect ratios are the measurement of a photograph. If the aspect ratio of a photo is 1:1, know that the picture will be square because the height and width of the picture are the same. 

The best aspect ratio for photos being taken is the 3:2 portrait aspect ratio, and hence, almost all the professional DSLR cameras are programmed to take such aspect ratio photos only. On the other hand, you’ll notice that majority of smartphone cameras are programmed to take pictures in the aspect ratio of 4:3.

The most common aspect ratios for the images are 3:2 and 4:3, as these ratios are already programmed in most of the cameras. In the case of 3:2 and 4:3 aspect ratio photographs, the images produced will be a rectangle because the photo’s width is more than the height of the photo.

Also, you can quickly flip the photo aspect ratios to 2:3 and 3:4 by simply switching the cameras to a vertical mode. 

For instance, if you’re taking a photo with a DSLR camera and it is being held normally, with the screen in a horizontal orientation (where the screen width is more than the height of the camera), the photo taken will be 3:2 ratio.

However, if you switch your DSLR camera to take photos in a vertical orientation (with the screen heigh longer than the width of the camera), the photo produced will be a 2:3 ratio. 

What Are the Most Common Aspect Ratios

 size of portrait photo

A few common aspect ratios are used almost for all the photographs. In most cases, the correct aspect ratio is chosen by determining the final format of the photograph. In simple words, the aspect ratio depends on whether the photograph will be printed or whether it will be uploaded on social media.

It is also important to know that the photograph is changed to different aspect ratios for uploading it on different social media platforms.

For instance, if you want to upload a picture on Instagram, you’d require the photograph in a 1:1 format. If your photo is in some other format, say 4:3, you’d be required to crop out sections of the picture to upload it on Instagram. 

Similarly, if you want the same picture to upload as a Youtube video’s thumbnail, you’d require the photograph in a 16:9 ratio. A 16:9 ratio photograph, once set as a thumbnail, appears to be mostly clear and sharp.

3:2 Aspect Ratio

3:2 aspect ratio is used primarily on DSLR cameras. This ratio is the closest to the golden ratio (1.618 to 1), making your photographs more beautiful and appealing. Artists used this ratio before even photography and ratio aspects were invented. This is also the aspect ratio of 35mm film. 

A 3:2 aspect ratio is the best for printing photos or getting high-definition and beautiful photos on your phone’s gallery. This ratio creates visually appealing and satisfactory photos for any type of photograph, be it scenery or a portrait.

Even though 4:3 aspect ratios are getting more popular nowadays, you can still use your old fil lenses on new DSLR cameras because they are designed for that purpose only.

2:3 Aspect Ratio

The 2:3 aspect ratio is the best ratio for taking portrait pictures. It is best for portrait photography because this ratio can cover your subject’s body entirely on the frame. You can use this aspect ratio on a DSLR camera by using it in a vertical orientation. 

4:3 Aspect Ratio

The 4:3 ratio has become ideal for almost all of the photographs taken these days. You can use this ratio typically through your smartphone by using it in landscape orientation. These are more suitable if you want to get your photos printed or keep them on your smartphones to show others.

Since the ratio is most suitable for all smartphone users, the advertisers also use the 4:3 aspect ratio for digital marketing purposes. 

3:4 Aspect Ratio

A 3:4 aspect ratio is also suitable for clicking portrait photography. You can take photos on a 3:4 portrait ratio by using your phone in a vertical mode. It is ideal for taking portrait pictures as you view the entire subject without zooming. 

1:1 Aspect Ratio

Are you an all-time Instagram user? If yes, you must know that 1:1 is a magic ratio for instagram. Instagram allows you to upload only 1:1 ratio pictures. Most smartphone users also get a setting called “square” to click square pictures so that they do not have to reformat their pictures to upload them on Instagram. 

This ratio has become popular with the increasing craziness among people on Instagram. It has become a standard ratio for almost all social media platforms nowadays.

16:9 Aspect Ratio

A 16:9 ratio is usually used to take landscape views. Usually, photographers use this ratio to capture landscape views such as mountain scenery, beaches, sunsets, etc. 

A 16:9 ratio is also widely used to shoot Youtube videos and create Youtube video thumbnails. If you’re watching a Youtube video and find it very blurry, it is most probably due to the fact that the video was not originally shot at the required photo ratios. Using this ratio, you can easily create a clean, visually appealing, and high-definition video. 

Besides Youtube, the ratio is also used to shoot HDTV and motion pictures. The video generally looks cinematic, and some of the shots can look very aesthetic while shooting through this ratio. 

However, if you’re looking for something to shoot still videos and images, this ratio might not be a good option. 

Printed Photos Aspect Ratio

camera ratios

If you’re still confused about choosing a good ratio aspect for your pictures, think about the final format of the picture. Will it be printed, or will it be posted on social media platforms? In case you’re printing the images, think about the type of images you want before clicking the photographs. 

Here are some of the few common print sizes that can be converted into some of the popular aspect ratios. Look at the table below:

Print SizeAspect Ratio
4 x 6
6 x 4
3:2 or 4:3
2:3 or 3:4
5 x 77:5
8 x 105:4
20 x 303:2

A 4×6 print size is a typical photo aspect ratio. It can be either a landscape or a portrait photo. If you want to create a 4×6 horizontal photo,  choose the images which are taken in a 3:2 or 4:3 portrait aspect ratio. If you’re going to create a 4×6 vertical picture, go with the pictures taken in a 2:3 or 3:4 photo aspect ratio.

Social Media Photo Ratios

In case you want to upload pictures on social media platforms, you’ve to understand their set of rules. Following are the photo ratios required by different social media platforms:


  • Profile Pic: 180 x 180px (1:1 ratio)
  • Cover Image: 820 x 312px (2.63:1 ratio)


  • Profile Pic: 400 x 400px (1:1 ratio)
  • Header Photo: 1500 x 500px (3:1 ratio)


  • Profile Pic: 110 x 110px (1:1 ratio)
  • Photo Upload Size: 1080 x 1080px (1:1 ratio)


A 3:4 aspect ratio is best for taking portrait pictures on a smartphone. However, if you’re using a DSLR camera, the ideal camera ratio to take portrait pictures is 3:2 or 2:3. 

Since most people are taller than they are wider, a 2:3 ratio helps you fit most of the subject’s body inside the frame and capture every minor detail of them. 

So, learned what the aspect ratio of a portrait photo is? Just remember that you need to decide the photo aspect ratio of the photographs even before clicking them. Consider the final format of the photos they will be in, choose the aspect ratio accordingly, and click the best photos!

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