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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Cropping
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10/06/2005 02:20:48 AM · #1
I would like to know your point of view about cropping. I am against that for example. Because from my point of view, it becomes a bad habbit, causes lower quality. And mostly it's obvious that a image is croped.

pleaze post the reason why you are for, or against it:). Thank you in advance
10/06/2005 02:29:27 AM · #2
Well, I think you're right, basically, about an extreme cropping anyway. That would be the same as using digital zoom, and yes, you can end up with a very pixelated, poor quality image. But, I don't think there is anything wrong with a minor cropping.

I try to 'frame' what I'm shooting in camera as what I want the shot to look like. But I normally crop my image to a specific aspect ratio for printing and sub conscious aesthetic reasons :-) usually 1.25:1
10/06/2005 02:46:53 AM · #3
i think it depends.

for example, cropping off an 8mp photo so that 6mp is remaining, and using that cropped image for printing of a 4R photo, it doesnt really make a difference.

cropping = removing pixels, so theoritically it "would" reduce "quality", but this is highly debatable.
10/06/2005 02:49:03 AM · #4
you try to shoot a bird sitting on a tree branch.

your max telephoto could only take it so far, but there are still distracting branches in the photo.

cropping off those distracting branches is a good way.

say your original photo is a 6mp, and you cropped off a few thousand pixels to remove unwanted parts of a photo isnt bad at all.
10/06/2005 02:56:08 AM · #5
I try to frame the picture as I'd like to see it but also leave enough around the outside to allow for mistakes. Then crop it to best composition.

However, assuming you keep the proportions the same, I don't believe you will be able to tell from a picture on a screen, or a print whether the photo was cropped or not. As shadow says - I may have a 12 mp camera, crop a picture to 6mp and still have more detail than 4mp "correctly framed" shot.
10/06/2005 03:02:08 AM · #6
Originally posted by Grigolly:

... And mostly it's obvious that a image is croped. ...

That is an interesting statement -- just how can you tell if the image you are looking at was framed in camera or croped?

Originally posted by Grigolly:

... pleaze post the reason why you are for, or against it:). Thank you in advance

The essense of a multi-stage workflow is to get as close as possible to what you want in the first stage it is encountered -- and then fine-tune in later stages.

Atempting to always frame the shot perfectly in camera reminds me of a saying my brother brought back with him from his tour in the Marines -- "A zero defect mentality breeds indecision." Worry too much about getting it framed perfectly in camera and you will never get any of the shots you want -- the universe doesn't just sit around and pose.

David
10/06/2005 03:31:42 AM · #7
Interesting this comes up, as I think I have noticed something in Photoshop.
If I open an original image, 3456x2304 pixels, and select view, best fit to desktop, I see image in it's original proportions. Now if I want to crop a section of it, I will zoom in and adjust horizontal and vertical sliders to fit image still in proper proportions until I get the crop I want.
Here is where I seem to have noticed a difference:
If I use the crop tool and crop to viewable selection I want, I seem to see a degraded image (slightly) after cropping. If I use the rectangular marquis tool and drag a box over the viewable image I want and final crop (same area I cropped earlier), select Edit, Copy, then File, New image, (by default, the copied section becomes the dimensions) Edit, Paste. I now have a new image as I wanted the crop to be. At that point, by choosing Image, Size, and typing in 640 on the longest side, Bicubic sharper selected (set in properties), and resize, the image is clearer and sharper than it was if I had cropped it.

Anyone ever notice this or try it?

Message edited by author 2005-10-06 05:45:10.
10/07/2005 12:02:09 PM · #8
Must be just me then.
10/07/2005 02:58:39 PM · #9
I'm going to try what you described, Brad. I think I have to try it in order to understand your post.
10/07/2005 03:13:25 PM · #10
Originally posted by Grigolly:

I would like to know your point of view about cropping. I am against that for example. Because from my point of view, it becomes a bad habbit, causes lower quality. And mostly it's obvious that a image is croped.

pleaze post the reason why you are for, or against it:). Thank you in advance


Learning to compose the photo the way you really want it with the camera is a good habit. There are some instance where you may be unable to do this and then you may need to perform a crop to get what you were really after. Cropping isn't really a dirty word in the world of photography. There are many instances where you must crop. My newspaper work, for instance, requires cropping all the time. I have to shoot a loose composition and then crop to fit whatever size image hole I get on the page. There are other instances where I crop my own personal work intentionally also. Sometimes I want a square photo. Since my camera doesn't shoot square images, I have to crop to get there.

If you find yourself cropping to get what you really want out of a photo, that may be a signal that you need to make some more considerations when shooting. You are right about quality loss. If you crop a small portion of a significantly larger photo, you will run into limitations as to how large you can print it at a decent quality.

One of the basic lessons in most beginning photography classes is to GET CLOSER. If you find yourself cropping quite often, this lesson may need revisiting :)
10/07/2005 03:39:24 PM · #11
I for one suck at composing a shot and allocating the extra space on the long end to crop for a more "normal" aspect ratio for print. I like to compose in camera, and wish there were little markers or something in the viewfinder if I know that I'm going to print an 8x10 or 11x14 etc. If frames for an 8x12 were easier to come by, it wouldn't be as big of a problem.
10/08/2005 01:10:17 AM · #12
Originally posted by BradP:

Interesting this comes up, as I think I have noticed something in Photoshop.
If I open an original image, 3456x2304 pixels, and select view, best fit to desktop, I see image in it's original proportions. Now if I want to crop a section of it, I will zoom in and adjust horizontal and vertical sliders to fit image still in proper proportions until I get the crop I want.
Here is where I seem to have noticed a difference:
If I use the crop tool and crop to viewable selection I want, I seem to see a degraded image (slightly) after cropping. If I use the rectangular marquis tool and drag a box over the viewable image I want and final crop (same area I cropped earlier), select Edit, Copy, then File, New image, (by default, the copied section becomes the dimensions) Edit, Paste. I now have a new image as I wanted the crop to be. At that point, by choosing Image, Size, and typing in 640 on the longest side, Bicubic sharper selected (set in properties), and resize, the image is clearer and sharper than it was if I had cropped it.

Anyone ever notice this or try it?

If, when using the crop tool, there is anything in the width, height or resolution boxes the image will be resampled using the default interpolation method -- it is 'bicubic' by default I think. By using 'bicubic sharper' when doing it yourself it is to be expected the image will be sharper.

BTW: The interpolation default can be found in in the Preference Dialog's General page [Edit/Preferences/General].

David
10/10/2005 11:27:56 PM · #13
When you crop in ps.....this is what i was told to do. you all tell me if it is right or not. In the boxes up above put 6in as width and 4in as height and 250-300 dpi. Is this correct..even if you are going to make an 8x10?
10/10/2005 11:45:53 PM · #14
Originally posted by alixmiles:

When you crop in ps.....this is what i was told to do. you all tell me if it is right or not. In the boxes up above put 6in as width and 4in as height and 250-300 dpi. Is this correct..even if you are going to make an 8x10?

No -- wrong on two counts:

-You are resampling the image down to 4x6 size, leaving less-than-optimum data for the larger print.
-The 4x6 aspect ratio doesn't match the 8x10 -- something would gett cropped of in printing.

Your technique is fine for making a 4x6 print, but not as a general workflow. You need to follow those same general procedures, but entering the dimensions of the largest print you plan to make, but realize that if that's more pixels than you start with, you'll be upsampling in a single step.
10/11/2005 07:08:00 AM · #15
Originally posted by Britannica:

If, when using the crop tool, there is anything in the width, height or resolution boxes the image will be resampled

I don't think that's quite true. The image is only resampled if there is something in the Resolution box. I routinely use the Crop tool to adjust the aspect ratio of photos, and I want Photoshop to leave me with the actual pixels, not some resampled version. So I enter something like "8in" in the "Width", "10in" in the "Height" and make sure the Resolution box is empty. That way I have an aspect-ratio-constrained tool I can use to crop my photo (which I can resample on my own terms).

I see people that recommend to enter a value into the "Resolution" box all the time when talking about the Crop tool, and that is just not good...

Message edited by author 2005-10-11 07:08:33.
10/11/2005 07:42:30 AM · #16
Like others have said, cropping is great if you want to create images that stray away from the camera sensor's original image size ratio: in my case 1.5:1. Like John said, crops are required to create square images and are also required to create 2:1, 3:1 etc images. Sometimes you just have to crop for effect since the camera cannot produce the image wanted by itself. Cropping is just another tool. Learning to crop properly is part of evolving as a photographer. I do agree that some people crop to try to salvage bad shots. It rarely works.

I also have to crop sometimes since I am notorious for shooting slightly crooked horizons. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this.
10/11/2005 07:50:12 AM · #17
Originally posted by EddyG:

Originally posted by Britannica:

If, when using the crop tool, there is anything in the width, height or resolution boxes the image will be resampled

I don't think that's quite true. The image is only resampled if there is something in the Resolution box. I routinely use the Crop tool to adjust the aspect ratio of photos, and I want Photoshop to leave me with the actual pixels, not some resampled version. So I enter something like "8in" in the "Width", "10in" in the "Height" and make sure the Resolution box is empty. That way I have an aspect-ratio-constrained tool I can use to crop my photo (which I can resample on my own terms).

I see people that recommend to enter a value into the "Resolution" box all the time when talking about the Crop tool, and that is just not good...

This is true -- I've just checked to be sure. However, this is only true because you are using a dimension that can be adjusted (by changing the resolution). This does resample if placing actual pixel values in any of the boxes -- such as Brad's example of using the crop tool to crop and resize in one step to 640 on the longest side.

I was not aware the dimensions could be used to restrain proportions in that manner. If I needed to restrain proportions I would always use the marquee tool. Not sure I will use it, but it is always nice to learn something new -- thanks.

David
10/11/2005 06:35:28 PM · #18
ok so how should i do it. I am confused now. I am sorry for not getting it. I just want to make sure I dont screw up.
10/11/2005 07:38:14 PM · #19
I think that cropping is the single most powerful post-processing tool available. Seriously.

Sure, ideally you would perfectly compose every shot in your head before pressing the shutter button, but often it's during post processing when I'm playing around with an image that I find a crop that "works." The best compositions aren't always the ones that you come up with while you're actually shooting. Sometimes the best ones reveal themselves to you later, while reflecting on the image in post-processing.

So my advice is to be mindful of composition while shooting, but err on the side of shooting too wide.
10/11/2005 07:48:25 PM · #20
cropping is a sin, and those dead pixals you have killed will always haunt you.
10/11/2005 07:52:41 PM · #21
Originally posted by undieyatch:

cropping is a sin, and those dead pixals you have killed will always haunt you.


Yep, I read somewhere that for every pixel you crop, God kills a kitten. Or maybe it was a puppy. I can't remember. ;)
10/11/2005 07:53:57 PM · #22
Originally posted by laurielblack:

Originally posted by undieyatch:

cropping is a sin, and those dead pixals you have killed will always haunt you.


Yep, I read somewhere that for every pixel you crop, God kills a kitten. Or maybe it was a puppy. I can't remember. ;)


I think it's for every pixel you crop an angel loses its wings.

10/11/2005 08:48:45 PM · #23
Originally posted by laurielblack:

Originally posted by undieyatch:

cropping is a sin, and those dead pixals you have killed will always haunt you.


Yep, I read somewhere that for every pixel you crop, God kills a kitten. Or maybe it was a puppy. I can't remember. ;)

To paraphrase from the Wide-Angle thread, cropping is just taking two steps forward.
10/11/2005 09:37:49 PM · #24
Can someone tell me what a good all around aspect ratio is, I try not to crop at all simply because I don't know this information. If I do have to crop for some reason, I almost always do 8X10. Would I be better off using a larger crop box?

Also, The camera I am using is 5MP, What would be the largest print I would want to make with the 5mp. ( uncropped )
10/11/2005 09:57:20 PM · #25
Aspect ratio is the proportions of the width and height. Photo print papers come in standard sizes -- you image must conform to one of them.

An 8x10 is proportional to 4x5 is proportional to 1x1.25

A 12x18 is proportional to a 4x6 is propotional to 1x1.5

You can either crop to a standard print ratio, or crop the image however you want, and then increase the canvas size to the next-largest print size, and either mat or trim the excess.
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