Welcome back to True Life! With this twice-monthly series, I’ll be posting helpful tips on taking better pictures of your kids, learning to use your camera, fun ways to display family photos, custom photo gifts, etc.
Stop before you crop. Sounds like it could be a song, doesn’t it? No? Just me?
Cropping a photograph can improve an image in several ways. It can bring more emphasis to the main subject of the photo by making the subject appear larger in the frame. It can also eliminate background objects that distract the eye away from the subject. And probably the most common reason of all: to fit that photo frame you already bought!
But cropping can also change a great image into a plain old bad one by removing important aspects of the composition, so be careful. Of course, art is very subjective, and our relative definitions of “bad” probably vary widely. (Well no, not “probably”…they DO vary widely, from what I can see on Facebook!)
When cropping an image to fit a frame, you’ll want to have a good idea of what you’re cutting out before you order your print. My clients are able to see different crops of photos right in their online shopping carts, and I also show client images in other crops when requested.
Want to see crop ratios in action? Check out this photo, and how much of the image is lost when it is cropped to different sizes:
As you can see, the more you crop an image from the top or bottom, the more square it will look. Cropping can make for some fun looks for a lot of photos, but remember, you’ll want to “try it before you buy it” because on other images, it just doesn’t work as well.
Occasionally a crop will completely change the feel of an image. Sometimes when I’m shooting, I’ll click quickly to capture the moment that’s right before my eyes, and crop it later to fit my vision.
Recognize this photograph?
No? How about now?
Big difference! (Of course I love them both!)
Some tips for cropping your images:
1) Keep an uncropped copy of the original photo.
2) Try a few different crops before deciding on The One.
3) Use a large photo for cropping, or you risk losing resolution and quality.
So I encourage you to play with different crops. See what works, what doesn’t. See what moves you, what fits your style. Have fun!
P.S. Anyone else ready for spring after seeing these pictures? ME TOO…
P.P.S. If any of my clients would like me to re-crop your images for you, just let me know! I’m happy to help!