Spilling the Beans Part 2 – To Crop or Not to Crop …

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.. aha – that is the question! Cropping a photo can transform an image from average to “Wow”  But not always.

I think, if truth be told, most pictures can be improved a little by cropping, even if only a teeny amount is cropped away. Personally I tend not to zoom in too closely to the subject when I take a photograph, so I have plenty of leeway afterwards to allow for it to be cropped in most sizes.

When you crop a photo which you’re going to get printed, it’s important that the aspect ratio you crop it too is the same as the aspect ratio of the size it will be printed at. There’s a bit more about the various ratios and how they differ on my Pinterest board https://uk.pinterest.com/fotografixgal/print-size-guidelines/

Next thing, how much to crop away? This of course comes down a lot to personal taste and the type of final image you’re aiming for. No right or wrong answer.

I usually try a few variations of crops on an image in the initial edit: baby-1

Then it’s just a question of deciding which looks best – or in the case of when I edit your portfolio images – which I think you might like best. If it’s tricky to decide, I may well use one of the other crops on a similar image so as to include as much variety as possible.

Cropping away part of a subject’s face can have great impact, which loads of you love. However, I know from comments I’ve heard over the years, for some, cropping off the top of a head, seems a really strange thing to do, even in the name of art. Again, I try and include a good mix in your portfolios so hopefully catering for most tastes.

I used to think that cropping tightly into the subject was generally the way to go when there was a busy background to the scene. However my experience of photographing weddings over many years has changed my views on this and, where appropriate, I keep most or part of the background in where it sets the scene or conveys more of the sense of the story that the picture is telling. Some shots are equally good cropped both ways.

For instance with the following wedding edits:

wed2-1

Wedding venues are generally pretty awesome, so of course have to be shown off as much as possible in the photos. I included as many backgrounds as possible in the pictures at the Clovelly wedding (above) which we photographed last year https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/a-beautiful-wedding-in-clovelly/ so as not to hide those picturesque views! But I also cropped some of them in closer to the bride and groom and included both versions in some cases.

wed5

Another stunning venue! I didn’t do too much of a crop on this one (above); the guests in the background add to the storytelling and the blue sky shows what a beautiful sunny day it was! https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/beautiful-south-farm-wedding/

wed1-1

With the above image, I could have cropped in closer to the bride as per the version on the right, but in this case felt that by incorporating the black and white pictures on the wall, showing the family in years gone by, made it much more poignant. Not to mention to show off the full length of the back of her gorgeous dress!

andover-1

The above shot of Andover works OK cropped in any of the above modes I reckon. It would just come down to a matter of personal taste.

flowers-1

Cropping out the table and empty coffee mugs, and rotating the flower slightly, made quite a difference to the above picture.

edinburgh-1

The shot above left of Edinburgh Castle was straight from camera (and no, I wasn’t toppling over when I took it lol !!). I cropped it to portrait and rotated it, aiming to keep as much of the plants in the foreground as possible to give it depth. I kept a bit of the tilt though – I know not everyone’s cup of tea, but I actually like the effect (occasionally!)

So there we are. It’s amazing how such a simple action as the humble crop can make quite a difference to the end result.

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