- Sep 13, 2007
- Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
IT’S ALL ABOUT CROPPING
Welcome to Collective Shoot #92, which is all about cropping.
As a slide film shooter for 25 years, I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy the luxury of being able to easily crop an electronic file. That’s such a godsend (surely there is a god of photography) that I encourage everyone to regularly take advantage of it.
Even though cropping was far more difficult during the film era, some of the best images made by master photographers of bygone decades were cropped. Perhaps the most famous known crop, possibly because it might also be the most documented crop, is the portrait of Pablo Picasso made by Arnold Newman in 1954. Not only did Newman change the aspect ratio of the crop, he also rotated the image and used only a very small portion of the original, as you can see here.
13 (CHANGED FROM 12) GREAT REASONS TO CROPThere are lots of great reasons to crop your images. An effective crop will allow you to:
1) Eliminate extraneous material.
2) Emphasize a pattern of color, texture, or shapes.
3) Position uncluttered space such as a cloudless, blue sky so it becomes the ideal background for the text of your title image.
4) Create a strong diagonal.
5) Place the subject at a strong position within your frame, such as when using the rule of thirds or a variation on that theme.
6) Move a well-defined horizon closer to the top or bottom. (An horizon that appears dead center often results in a static image.)
7) Frame your square or very narrow subject with an aspect ratio that conforms to the shape of your subject.
8) Use your Crop Tool as a Zoom Tool. You’re not the only one who wants to maintain your in-camera aspect ratio but doesn’t always have a long lens mounted to your camera at the moment you need it.
9) Make a picture within a picture. Cropping isn’t always about making a weak picture strong; sometimes it’s about getting two or more strong images out of the same capture.
10) Correct your mistake. (It’s okay to admit it.)
11) Enhance an unusual angle or perspective.
EDIT: 12) Thanks to Uncle Frank, we can add this to the list: Change the aspect ratio to a standard print size such as 5" x 7" or 8" x 10", so it can be framed without having to purchase a custom frame.
13) This last reason is perhaps best—to get us thinking more creatively!
GUIDELINES OF OUR CROPPING SHOOT
WHEN? Press your shutter release Friday, July 11 through Thursday, July 17. Have at it for the entire week! Post your images before midnight Thursday, July 17. All times are your local time.
EDIT: If you become involved in a discussion about cropping and could easily demonstrate your point by providing an example made before the Collective Shoot began, please do so. Providing a handy example right away might motivate others to apply the same thinking to pictures they make as part of our Shoot.
HOW MANY? Post up to three in-camera crops and up to two additional crops of each in-camera version. Important: Don’t forget to post the in-camera crop so we can see what you started with.
EDIT: Cropping in the camera means nothing more than composing the image with thought to how the image is framed before pressing the shutter release. For more explanations of the term, "in-camera crop," see post #46 as well as posts #2, #4 and #8.
WHAT TO EXPLAIN? You might explain the intended outcome of each crop, such as any of those mentioned above or some that are better. Alternatively, you might instead ask us what we think your crops accomplish so you can determine if your intentions are realized. That leads to our next guideline.
WHAT TO EXPECT? Please feel free to mention that you prefer that your images are NOT critiqued. Otherwise, expect helpful, constructive comments about your crops. All of us lounging around the Café will be supportive in the way we explain why maybe your crop is successful or not. We also might suggest other crops. Regardless, our exchange of ideas will be both informative and fun!
WHAT IS OFF LIMITS? We’re focusing (yeah, I know) on cropping technique, so we won’t discuss any other aspects of your images unless of course it’s complimentary critique, which we always encourage.
WHAT SIZE? Please limit the long dimension of your images to 900 pixels and the size to 200 kilobytes.
WHAT IF? If you don’t have time to post-process your image with regard to anything other than the crop, don’t hesitate to post it. Remember: this collective shoot is all about cropping!
ONE LAST THOUGHT: As my signature indicates, I’ll always be learning. However, if the theme of cropping that I chose shows that I’ve got just one thing down pat, it’s that I’m absolutely certain that great photography is all about making pictures, not just taking them. Have a great time making some pictures and showing us your crops!
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