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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Cropping, how has it changed for you?
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12/20/2012 10:27:20 PM · #1
When i starting taking photographs, I didn't know i could razer out my film stuff and crop it to whatever i liked. I was a kid with a disposable camera. I didn't know cropping was a thing - you just got your pics and that was that.

Moving on several years, i got more interested in shooting with bit more vigor and attention to detail. I was paying attention to my perspective and composition. Eventually, I started making small cuts here and there to make the compositions better.

Then came a phase where i was pretty crop-happy, and would take shots with crops already in mind of all shapes and sizes.

Time went by, my composition improved where i ended up reducing my cropping because i was shooting more with the final product in mind. Still, i'ld crop without thinking about printing.

A time came, where i started printing - and not just for myself, for others too. So now, i had to think more clearly about the crops i cut and make sure that they'd match a common size like 4x6 or 16x9 or 8x10 or 8x11.5 so that i could print without hassle or if i made a border that it was even and had purpose. Standard frame sizes are usually preferable in terms of convenience oftentimes to custom.

Now, i m working on a website. Mind you, my knowledge on building websites is about 3 days old. There's a few templates that allow me to get pretty crop happy, but uniformity must exist on a different level all together. Galleries demand that all my images be the same height or width depending on the template i choose. I could fall out of this guideline, but then the website looks awful as the images cycle and all the icons continuously move to compensate. the 3x4 16:9 and 2x3 end up being really the only crops i have to work with - unless i try to get creative with placement or use dyptychs ( i m using a combination of these techniques to deal with this right now.)

My question for the readers is: How do you deal with cropping your images across the print and digital formats? How has your view of this simple, important technique evolved over time? Do you have any words of wisdom for those of us, who sometimes struggle with balance?

Message edited by author 2012-12-20 22:28:55.
12/20/2012 10:39:29 PM · #2
with digital, it is always better to capture more than capture less of a scene.
you can crop out unwanted stuff, but you cannot put back uncaptured scenes.
just my thoughts.
12/20/2012 10:47:06 PM · #3
One thing I have learned is to always PP the full-size image. Then flatten. Save the flattened jpg at full size. Crop last. That way, if I have to go back for a different crop, I can do it easily.

I used to crop on a whim, without regard to what size it was. Recently I've been experimenting with the square crop. To my surprise, I now think about the possible crop(s) when shooting the original image. I have a suspicion that cropping is a very important part of PP that is often overlooked or under-appreciated.
12/21/2012 08:49:28 AM · #4
I don't generally crop to specific sizes if it doesn't suit the image. I'm more interested in cropping (or pre-setting up) the shot to what the image needs. Having said that, I often don't bother to crop at all for a couple of reasons.

1) Photographers tend to digitally crop to exactly the edges they want to see. I'm a picture framer so I notice that the mat often covers more of those edges than what the photog wanted. Note to photogs: leave a bit of extra room each side that can be covered up (approx. 5mm each side if possible)

2) I frame my own stuff so odd crops don't bother me as much as they might other people... :) Mind you, I'm like the mechanic whose car is never fixed or the electrician whose house isn't wired properly... my son's birth certificate isn't yet framed... he's 9 :D
12/21/2012 09:15:09 AM · #5
i think the crop tool is probably the most important tool in the box, especially for those whose cameras are set to getting everything else (exposure & WB) correct in-camera.

not only can you clean up your horizons and remove the visual clutter, you can get creative and experiment with different shapes and presentations.

when i shoot for newspapers, i'm encouraged to submit *my* best crop, regardless of the width-to-height ratio (their layout people can work with any dimension).

when i'm shooting for the web, 99% of my stuff is shot horizontal and delivered at a 4x6 ratio, even if i apply a crop.

when shooting, i'll try to shoot the same thing both tight and wide; that way, if i'm not always stuck with an extreme crop of a wide shot that looses a lot of detail (not that critical for web-only images, but not so pretty in print).

when i'm working with people, either in groups or one-on-one, i stress the importance of being able to present the best part of the image, as opposed to the whole thingg.

[and i make sure to stress working off a copy of the original!]
12/21/2012 01:12:48 PM · #6
Originally posted by pamb:

1) Photographers tend to digitally crop to exactly the edges they want to see. I'm a picture framer so I notice that the mat often covers more of those edges than what the photog wanted. Note to photogs: leave a bit of extra room each side that can be covered up (approx. 5mm each side if possible)

I almost always add a border to bring the image up to the next-largest standard print size, whether I crop or not. That way I know the entire image will be there, and it can be displayed without a mat if desired; captions and copyright info can go there too.

Cropping can also make a big difference in establishing context: this was my entry for the No Hand Of Man challenge:
Searching For Signs Of Intelligent Life ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/47/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_9713.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/47/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_9713.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' compare to resized original: ' . substr('//www.pbase.com/image/9220644/small.jpg', strrpos('//www.pbase.com/image/9220644/small.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2012-12-21 13:14:48.
12/21/2012 05:33:16 PM · #7
I used to have a hard time cropping in a strange place. But it got easier and soon I could crop anywhere I like. Still, every once in a while, I encounter some crop that I just can't tolerate...especially when it seems like there's no end to the crop. Man, ya gotta have boundaries.
12/21/2012 05:59:47 PM · #8
Originally posted by skewsme:

I used to have a hard time cropping in a strange place. But it got easier and soon I could crop anywhere I like. Still, every once in a while, I encounter some crop that I just can't tolerate...especially when it seems like there's no end to the crop. Man, ya gotta have boundaries.

Good of you to share your cropping experiences...

Speaking to my own position, I've been told, frequently, that I crop up in the strangest places and at the most awkward times, so I can empathize...
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