Why You Should (& should not) Crop Your Photos

In my previous posts, 6 TIPS FOR SHOOTING KIDS SPORTS and THE SIMPLEST PHOTOGRAPHY RULE TO IMPROVE YOUR IMAGES,  I mention ‘cropping’ a number of times.  Cropping is a process by which you adjust a photo’s orientation, aspect ratio, and/or area of focus by cutting out unwanted  parts of the photograph.  Cropping is a common tool available on apps and in photo editing programs such as Apple’s Photos, Instagram, Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed, and VSCO.  The crop tool works similarly across applications and easy to learn and use. 

FOUR REASONS YOU SHOULD CROP YOUR PHOTOS

1.  Zoom in to make your subject more prominent.  

As you can see below, the cropped image now emphasizes the subject and shows off the background while cutting out the foreground which, doesn't add any value to the image's story.  This results in an image that is much more appealing to the eye. 

 Original Image -  ©John Guillaume

Original Image -  ©John Guillaume

 Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

2.  Cut out unwanted parts of the photograph  

Here, I've cut out the ski lift wires and poles that are ugly and detract from the image.  

 Original Image - ©John Guillaume

Original Image - ©John Guillaume

 Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

3.  change the aspect ratio for printing and framing

It's a small change, but because the aspect ratio of the camera is different than the size needed for an 8x10 (Original image was 3x4) print and frame, I need to crop the image a bit.  As a bonus, I also got rid of the distracting light at the bottom right and was able to zoom in more on the subjects.  

 Original Image - ©John Guillaume

Original Image - ©John Guillaume

 Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

4.  straighten your horizon line  

I must admit, having a crooked horizon line is a pet-peeve of mine.  An image just looks unbalanced to the eye when the horizon line is off.  Getting the horizon line straight isn't easy when you're in the moment and getting a quick shot like the one below of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl parade.  It is easy to quickly fix the horizon line using your photo editing application and slightly rotating the image. 

 Original Image - ©John Guillaume

Original Image - ©John Guillaume

 Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

Cropped Image - ©John Guillaume

As you can see in these examples, cropping can enhance an image quite a bit.  You should be aware that when you crop you will reduce the overall image resolution. Therefore, you limit your ability to print larger.  The resulting size limitations will depend on how much you crop and the original resolution of the image.  For sharing online, you can crop your image a lot while not impact the overall quality.    

Take a look at some of your photos and give cropping a try.  You'll be amazed at how much it can change the feel of your images. 

Comments, questions, suggested topics, are always welcomed.  Use the comment and like buttons, below.  

Also, If you would like to check out some of my fine art photography, click or tap on 'gallery' on the site menu and follow me on Instagram - www.instagram.com/john_guillaume

Make it a great day! 

JG

www.johnguillaume.com