To Crop or Not to Crop, That is The Question

September 19, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

 

In our last blog, we discussed the "rule of thirds" principle, a technique that helps the photographer frame the picture while looking through their camera. This has been called "the decisive moment" or "pre-visualization" by some photographers.

In a perfect world, we would be able to frame the complete picture in the viewfinder, point, click, and come out with a print-ready photograph to display. However, more times than not a random object will find itself to be a distractive influence in your photograph. When cropping is necessary, you will find the rule of thirds to still come in handy.

When cropping the first rule you should follow is to NEVER crop an original image. ALWAYS make a copy or two when experimenting and work on the copy. Once you have made a copy, you should use whatever application or software you feel comfortable with and play around with cropping the image until you have found it to your liking. One question you should ask yourself to decide on a successful crop is "is the photograph a more dynamic composition now?" If the answer is yes, you are ready to apply the rule of thirds to your new image.

Take the cropped photograph and see if you can split it into thirds. Sometimes it is helpful to print the photograph out and, with a ruler, split the photograph into thirds horizontally and vertically to plan your composed cropping.

To see how I slightly cropped an image, click on  the FRANCE gallery, then click on the "Paris d'Orsay View" thumbnail. Notice that the photo is cropped mainly around the clock face and the silhouetted people and that the photo is in a square format to fit the cropping. Also, notice that the flooring is cropped to draw the viewer’s eye to the clock and people in front of it.

By using the rule of thirds while cropping, your photographs will become more dynamic and cleaner. No longer will you have to worry about a great photograph being ruined by an unwanted nuisance.

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