Tuesday, January 12, 2016


In a previous blog I talked about “narrowing your view” or cropping in-camera to create compelling compositions; I tell my students, “You can often reveal more about a subject by showing less”.

This week I’ll cover post capture cropping. This technique is generally for new versions of an image I created long ago. I may notice something within an image when I zoom-in on it, in the Bridge (Photoshop), that makes for a more dynamic version of the subject.

This is not the ideal method to crop, especially with digital images, since with a severe crop, you can eliminate half or more of your image pixels, which will severely limit the size print you can make and still maintain quality.  However, if you’re using a camera with 20 mps or larger (on a large size sensor) this technique can produce great results.

f9.0 @ 1/250 sec., ISO 800, Lens @ 70mm
The image above is a pretty small piece of the original image—and I kicked myself for not zooming in with my other telephoto (in my camera bag!) after I saw this!  It just shows you that even we professionals miss things in the excitement where there’s a lot of action like a hot air ballon launch.

So, here’s the original vertical image. I only captured the moment—it’s centered and static. 

The cropped horizontal version is far more dynamic with much better composition, since I placed the people in the lower R.H. “crash point” following the Rule of Thirds

f11.0 @ 1/200 sec., ISO 800, Lens @ 200mm
The image above, from my barns in fall series, was cropped as much as I could since my lens was zoomed to it’s 200mm maximum.  But, this was still more barn than I wanted relative to fall colors. So, I cropped in and created a more dynamic image with this strong diagonal composition

In addition it’s now easier to see through the barn’s roof through that window now that it’s larger—much better!

f8.0 @ 1/150 sec., ISO 400, Lens @ 118 mm
This image is close to where I wanted it in composition—when I captured it I kept the horizon line way from the middle of the image, but it still lacked the punch I wanted. So, I did this…

Now the horizon line is shifted atypically high in the frame. I kept that nice foreground material, but this new crop changed that squarish boring composition to a long skinny that works better with the line of sailboats across the top.

There are many more compositional “rules” that you can find on-line. Using any of them is generally better than simply centering your subject within the frame!

As usual, ask me questions or make comments…’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training Site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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