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As a graphic designer and blogger I’ve faced this dilemma time and time again. How to make a horizontal photo work in a vertical space and make it look good! I know I can’t be the only one who has run into this problem so I thought I’d share some design wisdom.
Sometimes there’s only one photo available and for some reason (probably many reasons) you can’t re-shoot or replace it with a stock photo. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where a client will ask you to “make it work”.
When it comes to blogging, most of us have learned to shoot two photos, a vertical for Pinterest and a horizontal for everything else. Even with that knowledge occasionally you end up with one good photo and it’s horizontal!
Well, I’m hear to tell you it’s not the end of the world. I have some creative solutions you can put to work today.
5 Ways to Make a Horizontal Photo Work in a Vertical Space
I’ve created a few visuals using this royalty-free stock photo (above) that I purchased for a post I recently wrote. I loved the image but unfortunately it was only offered as a horizontal and I needed it to pull double-duty as a vertical too.
The following examples are Pinterest Pin specific for all you bloggers out there, but these tricks and tips would work for any vertical format such as a banner ad or other vertical preset space. So let’s get started.
1- Build onto the photo (top or bottom) and Enlarge
Sometimes it’s fairly easy to extend (or clone) the top or bottom of an image just enough to make it work. In the above example, I did just that. I enlarged the photo and then figured out how much more I needed to clone. I decided to clone the sky because it was fairly easy to do and it made a natural landing spot for my headline type.
2- Create Graphic Interest
In some cases, you can’t just use a portion of an image or the people won’t know what they’re looking at. I get it, been there too. If that’s the case, adding graphic interest like clip art or a unique frame around the original image may work. Here I added a clip art image of a dandelion and set my photo in an oval frame. By doing this I was able to fill the space meaningfully.
3- Use It Twice
If you don’t have time to go looking for clip art, you could just use the most interesting portion of your photo as a background. In my example (above), I enlarged a portion of the original image and set the transparency to 40%. I left it as a full color image but you could convert it to black and white or use a filter technique to change things up. To pull it all together, I used a transparent (aqua box) as a landing for my headline type and feature photo.
4- Make a Photo Collage
If you have other supporting photos you may want to consider making a photo collage. Sometimes multiple images tell a story better than any one photo ever could. Add pops of color for interest and you’re done.
5- Use Multiple Techniques
In my last example I used multiple techniques from cropping and enlarging just a portion of my photo to adding a color block at the top. I also made my type the focal point by putting it in a large circle.
These are just a few ideas. There are so many things you can try so it’s worth experimenting a little before throwing in the towel.
Have questions? Let me know in the comment section below and if you found this post helpful, please pass it on.
If you haven’t run into this problem before, you may want to pin this post for future (just in case because it’s always nice to have some ideas waiting in the wings if and when you need them).