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Cropping is OK, in fact it's a must!

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

Sometimes it's easy to be fixated on getting a picture right when you take it, however for all kinds of reasons that might not be possible. It might be that you're not sure exactly how the picture will look, and of course with a DSLR it's difficult to tell from the screen on the camera. Perhaps the subject you want to take a picture of is too far away, or perhaps because the moment will be gone and you just don't have time to think about it. There are so many reasons the picture you take won't be what you wanted but cropping is a powerful tool to fix that.


Cropping enables you to improve the picture in lots of ways. You can enlarge what you're taking a picture of, filling the frame with the subject, whatever that subject is. With wildlife or nature photography cropping makes the subject closer, which is often necessary because you can't otherwise get close enough, either because you don't have a macro function or lens or because if you got closer you'd spook the wildlife. But probably most importantly cropping allows you to create the composition you want, and it's by doing this you can turn an average picture into a great one.


There was a time when cropping was a bad thing because it would adversely affect the picture quality significantly. However the good news is that with modern cameras and phones we have plenty of pixels so we generally shouldn't be concerned about loosing quality because we've cropped the picture.


The thing is is with cropping if you don't do it you will often end up with bad or at best average pictures. The human eye is very poor at looking at an un-cropped picture and seeing how good it could be, without cropping you just see it as a bad picture.


Here's some examples. These first two pictures are just better cropped, in both cases the crop focuses in on the main subject and is a better composition. In both the composition is about 'thirds' (a composition rule / technique), but more on that in a future blog, for now if you crop it and it looks better then that's all that matters!


The second example is a picture I took in recent floods. When I took the picture I was looking at composition, diagonal and leading lines but couldn't really decide what I wanted until, that is, I got it home and cropped it.

The next example is a picture I was taking for a photography project, the theme of which was 'indoors'. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve, which was an optical illusion, however without the crop the picture doesn't work at all.

My last example is Macro. Always get as close as you can and fill the frame as much as you can. If you can't do that then crop it, you might be surprised at the result!

So the point of this post is to encourage you to crop your pictures, whether they're taken with a phone or a fancy camera. It's really easy to do and is the single biggest thing that will make your pictures look better. If you don't crop pictures, have a go!


More soon,


Vaughan

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