CROPPING – Perhaps the MOST USED Post Processing Tool in Digital Photography.
Cropping is an easy yet important step to consider when editing photos. Every image editing program has a crop tool that lets you trim, or eliminate the edges of an image. Of course not every photo you take needs cropping. However, the visual impact and composition of many photos can be greatly improved when thoughtfully cropped.
Not totally convinced? See the illustration below.
I posted an Image on Facebook titled ‘EXXXXXXTREMUM’ this morning.
After watching the above image I received many messages asking me whether the image is Full Frame or Cropped. How much it is cropped? Etc.
YES it was a HEAVILY CROPPED Image.
Why I CROPPED it?
Just to Increase the IMPACT of that image & for viewing pleasure.
So how I was able to maintain so many details in the final image even after cropping it almost 80%?
Here are few reasons:
1. The Image quality primarily depends on the quality of glass (Lens) you are using to shoot it and then the camera body used with it.
2. Shooting technique is a very important aspect for getting sharp images. I placed my camera on the bean bag (in car window) for getting the stability.
3. I stopped down to F8, made sure that I am getting enough shutter speed to freeze the moment and most importantly; shifted the focusing point on subject’s Face.
4. I was using a 24 Megapixel Camera (Nikon D7100) which helped me in retaining considerable amount of pixels in the final image even after heavy cropping.
How to crop a digital image?
To crop an image, open it in your photo editing program and click on the crop tool. Place the crop tool on one corner of the image and then click-and-drag to select the area you want to keep. The cropped area will appear darker (or lighter, depending on which program you use).
When you are satisfied with the new composition, click the image or press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to complete the process.
Reasons to crop an image:
1. Improve overall composition
2. Focus on the main subject
3. Remove distracting elements
4. “Zoom in” on a subject
5. Change the orientation
6. Change the aspect ratio
Things to consider when cropping an image:
• Duplicate your images first. It’s always good to keep an original that you can go back to later to find a different way to crop.
• Take your time when cropping. There are almost unlimited ways to crop an image and it’s worth trying a few of them before settling on one.
• If you change the shape of your image this could make printing more difficult, especially if you’re going to a photo lab which generally only print in standard shapes and sizes.
• Cropping works best when you’re starting with a fairly large image. When you crop an image and then try to view it at the same size as it was before you cropped you’ll notice that the pixels are large. If you’re using small images keep this in mind or you’ll notice the quality of your images can decrease to an unusable level.
• For this reason the ideal is to use cropping as a fine tuning of a well framed picture. With experience you’ll find your framing of images gets better and you’ll probably find yourself cropping drastically in post production less and less.
Attached are a FULL FRAME Image and the cropped version (in INSET).
Narendra Arvind Pandit
Indian Nature & Wildlife Photographer
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