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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 27 Feb 2012 (Monday) 22:20
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BASIC cropping advice

 
stanwelks
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Feb 27, 2012 22:20 |  #1

I am new to photography and I took a photo of a lizard and I am not sure of the best way to crop the image. Can someone take a look at my image and give me some feedback on the cropped version? Should I crop more out of it? What do you base your decision for cropping it on?

Thanks!


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cacawcacaw
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Feb 27, 2012 22:29 |  #2

A fairly basic rule of composition is Fill the Frame (external link)


Replacing my Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 17-55mm, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and 150-500mm with a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. I still have the 17-55 and the 30 available for sale.

  
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PhotosGuy
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Feb 27, 2012 23:05 |  #3

What do you base your decision for cropping it on?

Before cropping comes framing. So I base it on the final shot that I'm able to get. For instance in your shot, that would be the first one I took. (Safety shot). Then I'd get closer & take another one. Repeat until the little guy goes away. Now I've got something to work with. Out of your shot, I'd probably throw 95% of it away.

Do you crop most of the time?


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mrwalker
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Feb 27, 2012 23:10 as a reply to  @ cacawcacaw's post |  #4

To paraphrase Mr Cartier-Bresson a bit, decide what your subject is, leave in anything that adds to the subject, eliminate anything that detracts from the subject.

I like it like this:


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Naraly
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Feb 27, 2012 23:15 |  #5

I'm new here, but to my personal taste I would crop it more, to get rid of some distractions. For instance, that thing (maybe dry palm?) on the top right is distracting to me because its reflecting as much light as the rock. So my eye goes back and forth instead of focusing on the detail of the lizard. I would crop out the bottom half of the rock, and a little bit of the tail from the left side (to get it on the bottom left point from using the rule of thirds).

Just my two cents, I'm no pro :).



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Naraly
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Feb 27, 2012 23:17 |  #6

I didn't get to see the post above me, mrwalker's version is good that it does not have distractions so the viewer can focus on the main subject :).



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stanwelks
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Feb 27, 2012 23:51 |  #7

Thanks to everyone for providing info/advice!

I like what you did mrwalker, however, by doing this:

1. It removes the elements to the right of the lizard showing it looking off into the distance off of the rock. That was my original intention, though it sounds like everyone else is suggestion to fill the frame with the lizard?

2. When cropping so many pixels, at what point does it become a problem with regard to printing when so much is cropped out? How do you make cropping decisions while considering how it will affect the print?

Thanks!




  
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mrwalker
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Feb 28, 2012 00:37 |  #8

stanwelks wrote in post #13981030 (external link)
Thanks to everyone for providing info/advice!

I like what you did mrwalker, however, by doing this:

1. It removes the elements to the right of the lizard showing it looking off into the distance off of the rock. That was my original intention, though it sounds like everyone else is suggestion to fill the frame with the lizard?

2. When cropping so many pixels, at what point does it become a problem with regard to printing when so much is cropped out? How do you make cropping decisions while considering how it will affect the print?

Thanks!

The 'space in the direction of the sight-line' is a good idea, problem here (for me at least) is that it runs into some very distracting background (esp the dry palm frond) so better cut it short at the bricks.

I just think of the target aspect ratio and print size (check with your printers esp. re DPI) and crop accordingly!

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cacawcacaw
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Feb 28, 2012 12:12 |  #9

I would have liked to have gone even tighter, showing only a portion of the lizard, but there just wasn't enough photo to work with. I like PhotosGuy's advice to take several different shots so that you have more of a choice in your cropping. (This example shows the downside of cropping too far and losing resolution and detail.)


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Just for your reference, my goals were to fill the frame, leave some leading space, and put the focal point (the eyes) at the inside of the Golden Spiral (sounds complicated but it's very similar to the rule of thirds). Anyway, my point is that this crop looks pretty good and there were virtually no "artistic" decisions made. I simply took the tightest crop possible without cutting off any lizard, left a little open space to the upper right, and then aligned the eyes on the spiral overlay in Lightroom. With most photos, following these basic rules gives a good no-thinking-required starting point for the final adjustments.

Also, could you please make us legal by turning on "Image Editing OK" in your profile? Thanks

Edit: regarding your question about how far can you crop without messing up the image, the image I attached is 600 x 293 pixels. If you want to print at 240 dots per inch, this image should only be printed at about 1.25" x 2.5" (barely big enough to use on a business card). However, if I had started with the original Raw file, it's likely that there would have been enough pixels to print at a larger size. If you had zoomed in on the lizard, the Raw file would have had enough information to allow printing at a very large size.

Replacing my Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 17-55mm, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and 150-500mm with a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. I still have the 17-55 and the 30 available for sale.

  
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PhotosGuy
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Feb 29, 2012 10:07 |  #10

stanwelks wrote in post #13981030 (external link)
Thanks to everyone for providing info/advice!

I like what you did mrwalker, however, by doing this:

1. It removes the elements to the right of the lizard showing it looking off into the distance off of the rock. That was my original intention, though it sounds like everyone else is suggestion to fill the frame with the lizard?

I think that's a good idea, but instead of saying, "I took a photo of a lizard", you might have said what your intention right at the beginning? What you gave us was not a photo of a lizard, but instead is a lizard in a landscape which needs a lot of cropping to be a "photo of a lizard".

So... a closer vertical shot from more to the right showing the drop-off below him with the busy background more out of focus would have been my choice.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
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cacawcacaw
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Feb 29, 2012 13:37 |  #11

stanwelks wrote in post #13981030 (external link)
...

It removes the elements to the right of the lizard showing it looking off into the distance off of the rock. That was my original intention, ...

The problem is that your lizard gets lost in the composition. (Squint your eyes and look at your photo - the general shapes and colors are kind of confusing and not very compelling.)

Now, if you replaced that background and had the lizard perched out over something a little more interesting, then you would have good justification for a looser crop. Another rule of composition is that your image should tell a story and shouldn't contain any more than necessary to tell that story.


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Replacing my Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 17-55mm, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and 150-500mm with a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. I still have the 17-55 and the 30 available for sale.

  
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toastyphoto
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Feb 29, 2012 15:41 |  #12

Here's my take on the crop. Leaves some visual interest on the right side of the image, and you can tell the lizard is contemplating where he's going to go next.


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