Facebook has put a fresh coat of paint on its app with an overhaul to some of the graphical elements. One major change of note for photographers is that profile photos that appear alongside comments and in the newsfeed will now be circles instead of squares.
The Facebook app isn’t the first to go with an odd shape for photos. The company’s own Messenger and Instagram apps have tread that ground earlier, as did Twitter.
Why is this important? Like the way cars shaped the entire country by the creation of roads to drive them on, whatever shape is en vogue in social media drives photography.
I was a master’s student in photography in 2009, a year before the birth of Instagram. It was drilled into our heads that a square photo was about as dynamic as a breakfast of buttered toast. When Instagram came along a year later, I was already out in the world teaching my students the same thing.
But then Instagram stuck. Square (digital) photos were here to stay and they weren’t going away. And instead of shunning the square, I embraced it. I worked around it, learned to compose in ways that made squares work. It retrained my brain. Even the once-cardinal sin of square video is now accepted.
Profile pictures across services used the square. It became ubiquitous and easy to compose for.
So, while I feel the same amount of trepidation with more circles being rolled out in the photo world, I've begun to wonder if I have to compose everything with centered composition now? How long is it before the iPhone and other cameras add a circular photo option in addition to the square modes that are now common?
What do you think of circular photos? Do you have any tips on how to take better circular photos? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[via The Verge]