The Case for Cropping Images

The Case for Cropping Images, Image 01

Case for Cropping Images

Do you crop your images? Yes, I do. First and foremost, when I am stuck with only a body, a un-idle prime, and a vantage point that is not at the best to my discretion. I will continue shooting, I will capture the event first, and work towards achieving the spectacular I was visualizing with cropping at post-processing.
The Case for Cropping Images, Image 02
Images are often cropped to improve the composition, to re-orientate and bring focus to the main subject, to zoom-in on the subject that may be within the scope of a large wasted space, and to change the orientation and the aspect ratio of the image. Cropping to a square format does suggests stability and formality.
The Case for Cropping Images, Image 03
One obvious reason to crop an image is to place more emphasis on the subject of the image. You may want to remove untidy elements that may otherwise spoil the intent of the image. Try applying the Rule of Thirds to the image you are editing, if you are not too happy with the visual impact of the image, try cropping it to the rule.
The Case for Cropping Images, Image 04
Cropping can also give an image a greater impact - panoramic vistas that may be too tall if shown in full, or vertical slits that may be the opposite if shown in full width. You may also crop your images to unusual shapes, not really recommended though. Try cropping an image to a circular shape and see what you make of it.
The Case for Cropping Images, Image 05
Cropping can also bring out the emotion in you. The closer you crop to the face of a person, for example, the more personal the image becomes. A full figure shot seems always formal, professional, and somewhat distant. A head and shoulders shot, on the other hand, is friendlier, and is more intimate. Try cropping it closer.
The Case for Cropping Images, Image 06
Cropping can also be done to tell a story or context, to the extent that sometimes it completely destroys or completely alter the meaning of the image. There is always a limit on things that you can do - will cropping the image changes or completely alters the story? Can it still deliver the message, or will it just ends up being a pointless banner head.

Images shot on an Olympus E-510 with a Jupiter 9 85mm f/2 80mm lens, color enhanced and cropped for effect on the desktop image management and editing software.

Resource Links:
Introduction to Image Cropping
How to Crop Images Like a Pro
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