Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I do most of my portrait sessions with my 70-200mm f2.8 lens. I tend to keep as close to 200mm as I can wether I’m doing a group or an individual. If I’m only photographing an individual portrait session—especially a child—I’ll add my 1.4x extender for a telephoto compression boost.  

You see it’s not just about the telephoto compression effect, knocking the background out of focus or bokeh in the background—Things that I really do Love!—It’s about dramatic impact.  It’s about storytelling (that’s why we renamed our studio The Storytellers seven years ago.) Many times—especially with individuals—the tighter the crop the more dramatic the storytelling. 

Case in point in this session of a high school senior and her horse, I did not have enough lens at the moment of capture….
f5.6 @ 1/1250 sec., ISO 400; lens at 180mm
This marvelous moment came and went in a couple of seconds. Fortunately, I was watching their interaction through my camera’s viewfinder and I was zooming in and caught the moment as I was walking towards them. So, this post capture crop was necessary to create the drama using the composition you see.  In addition, the conversion to B&W (using Silver Efex Pro-2) helped to simplify the scene by eliminating her blue shirt.

Here’s the full-frame original color version…
Original Full Color Version
I think the crop is a huge improvement over the original, but it’s not without cost.  I believe that the single biggest disadvantage we face today with our professional digital cameras versus our medium format film cameras is our loss of image quality when we do serious cropping.

In the above images my file size went from 28mb in the full-frame version to 5mb in the cropped version! So, by my math, to end up with a file size of 28mb AFTER that much cropping I would need a starting file size of 156mb!

It was much easier in our medium format film days when we could crop and use 1/4 of a negative and still produce a great wall print.

Happy Cropping! ’Til next week…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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