Daily Archives: July 17, 2009

Photo Friday: Crop It!

The original photo of Connor—not very compelling

The original photo of Connor—not very compelling

A few years ago, my friend Jennifer W. asked me an important photographic question.

“Do you crop your photos?”

Do I crop my photos?!? There aren’t very many that I don’t crop! Bottom line: Cropping, which is trimming out parts of a pix that aren’t necessary while still keeping the ratio at 6 x 4, 5 x 7, and the like, improves photos by focusing on what’s important.

Look at the photo of Connor above. I really liked the way he was tossing the baseball, but I do not like all that space to his right. How to improve the photo? Go into Photoshop, choose the crop tool, and hone in on the true action . . . as a 4 x 6 instead of a 6 x 4.

Now that's better!

Now that's better!

That’s more like it!

It helps to have software like Photoshop Elements for improving your photos, especially when it comes to cropping. Just be sure to be judicious about what you trim out. Don’t cut so close that you lose the context of the picture.

The original: Michael about to make the force out at second.

The original: Michael about to make the force out at second.

Here’s a prime example. In the original photo above, Michael is moving towards second base to force out the runner.

4x6-#3405-(just-mg)

Just Michael

This is an ill-advised crop of the photo. Sure, Michael is a cutie, but now the picture doesn’t tell the true story of the play.

Much better!

Much better!

This is a more-compelling photo that includes the runner and the base. It’s easy to tell what’s probably going to happen next, which is the force at second base.

There's an eagle there somewhere.

There's an eagle there somewhere.

Some photos, like the one above from the zoo, cry out to be cropped. But sometimes it’s not really clear which way you should trim the photo—as a horizontal . . .

Horizontal eagle

Horizontal eagle

. . . or as a vertical.

Vertical eagle

Vertical eagle

Sometimes how you’re going to use the photo determines which way it should be cropped. In this case, I think the vertical aspect is better. But if you needed to illustrate an article about an eagle’s habitat, the horizontal crop might be preferred.

So here’s your basic rule of thumb about cropping: Do it and improve your photos!