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Tips For Cropping Your Images

Tips and Inspiration

26 April 2017

Posted by Ranjit Dhaliwal

You should always avoid cropping unless you absolutely need to. Take time to concentrate on the composition of your image ‘in camera’, practice getting it right first time and it will avoid unnecessary fiddling around later. If a photograph needs extensive work in post production it probably wasn’t good enough in the first place.

For moments when cropping isn’t avoidable...

"This wide street scene needed a bit of cropping as it was dangerous to stand in the road to get a tighter image."

"This wide street scene needed a bit of cropping as it was dangerous to stand in the road to get a tighter image." Read less

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1. STICK TO THE ESTABLISHED ASPECT RATIO

DSLR cameras, like their film ancestors have a default aspect ratio of 3:2. Keep your cropped image within that if possible. Picture buyers want to be able to do their own cropping when designing their products if possible, so give them as much room to play with to let them craft their own story.

2. KEEP CROPPED IMAGES AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE

It needs to be as clear and as clean as possible, make your image is as uncluttered as possible. If you have a stray foot or a stray arm sticking to the left of the frame, that should be cropped out. Anything which isn’t essential to telling the story needs to go.

3. USE RULE OF THIRDS

Bear this golden rule in mind when cropping your image, it will lead to producing a more aesthetically pleasing, balanced image. It's a fundamental principle that you can easily follow by using the cropping tool on various editing software.

"A tighter crop was made using the 3:2 aspect ratio and the rule of thirds (the figure is placed roughly one-third of the way up the frame and takes up the middle two-thirds of ... Read more

"A tighter crop was made using the 3:2 aspect ratio and the rule of thirds (the figure is placed roughly one-third of the way up the frame and takes up the middle two-thirds of the frame." Read less

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4. KEEP FULL FIGURES IN THE FRAME

Where there are figures in the frame, animal or human, try to keep them complete. Cropping figures can lead to awkward positioning and could potentially even ruin your photo. So, avoid it at all costs — no one likes to see feet chopped off human beings.

"You might be tempted to crop in even tighter to the figure, please don’t ― no one wants to see this poor woman’s legs chopped off at the knee!"

"You might be tempted to crop in even tighter to the figure, please don’t ― no one wants to see this poor woman’s legs chopped off at the knee!" Read less

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