Image file formats and sizes can be tricky, but it’s really important to pay attention to them. Every baby picture or wedding certificate or draft card you upload to your virtual memorial or online obituary should be optimized to ensure that your pages load quickly and display correctly. Even those of us with experience building websites don’t think about image orientation enough sometimes, myself included. My blog posts look best if the featured image has a landscape orientation. But I can get so focused on finding an attractive, relevant image for the content that I don’t pay enough attention to finding the best image for the space.
Portrait images generally work best for one or two people—hence the name. Small groups tend to fit a square or landscape orientation (which is also good for landscapes, incidentally). If your format accommodates any image orientation, don’t filter your search. Make your selection based on content alone.
If you’re digitizing a collection of family photos, include the image orientation as part of the metadata you record for each item, along with subject of the photo, date taken, location, photographer if known, and so on. That way, you can search through your own image collection more efficiently. Recording metadata always takes more time up front—it’s a pain in the ass, frankly, and I don’t always do it properly myself. But you’ll save yourself a lot of future hassles if you take the time to record accurate and complete metadata, and future generations will thank you.