Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let's Talk: Photo Cropping

Remember this photograph? I posted it here, as a potential selection for my January Photo-Heart Connection. At the time, I promised to talk more about the photograph and the young man in it.  He's one of the other seniors on Henry's soccer team and holds a special place in my heart because he's the only other one who has played soccer all four years with Henry. When they were freshman, the program was in a bit of disarray so no one else went out for the team. This year, they're both Captains and the team is thriving. He is also just a terrific kid - polite, hard working, responsible.  His older brother was the first one in the family to go to college, and we're hoping that Andres follows in his footsteps. 
As for the photograph, I love it because it emerged during processing from this original:
On Senior's Night, we give a nice framed action photo to the seniors as a going-away gift. Since I'm responsible for this task, I shoot lots of photos of the seniors during the season to try to capture something special.  I took this picture of Andres walking off during half-time. Although I liked his expression, I thought it was an unremarkable photograph.  But when I cropped it using the rule of thirds (and brightened it up a bit), I ended up with a photograph that I loved. By placing him in the left third of the frame, rather than in the center, he becomes the focal point. I've left enough of the soccer goal to give context and the depth of field is just right (background soft, but not blurry). I'm really happy with how it turned out. 
Usually, I try to frame my photographs while I'm taking them, so that I don't need to crop them in my computer. For action shots, though, I usually don't have that luxury. That's when cropping on the computer really helps.
What about you? Do you crop photographs on the computer? Or compose them correctly in the first place? Do you think about design rules (like the rule of thirds) when cropping or just play around until you find something you like? Got any other cropping tips to share? Let's talk about it . . .
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"Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series designed to inspire frank discussion and sharing of information on issues relating to photography, art and blogging. 

12 comments:

Kirsty.a said...

I often crop in PSE after the event. I made similar ROT decisions with recent butterfly photos (which i'll post tomorrow when I'm done editing them)

Louise said...

i usually crop after - the moment may not be captured at all if i try to compose while taking the photo. This is a great shot and looks even better after the crop x

Amy said...

I rarely crop an image, but I do find that cropping occurs when I place images into templates. From a photography stand point I don't like cropping images and spend a lot of time lining up my intial shot ... it doesn't always work out though! Then of course, thank goodness for CS3!

Karen said...

i lon]ve how your cropping makes the young man more the focus of the photo.

Sian said...

A bit of both for me. I'm becoming more aware of composition when I'm taking a picture, but I'm also happy to radically crop afterwards if I think it gives a picture which tells a better story. I saw a wonderful article once from a graphic designer who showed just how many different photos he could pull from one single picture. I found that very inspiring

Gail said...

Most of the time I crop afterwards (using PSE) and it's usually I keep fiddling with it till I really like something. If I had to take the time while taking the picture it probably wouldn't get taken.
I really like how this crop turned out.

Miriam said...

If I can't get the picture right in my lens I will take the photo knowing that I'll crop later. I am practising landscapes, getting it right in the camera. Im fine with ROT left to right but hopeless at top to bottom! horizons always end up in the centre, that's why I'm practising...

Carola Bartz said...

I do both. I try to compose the image while taking the picture as much as possible, but it doesn't always work this way. Especially when I only have my P&S camera with me because I can't really see what the shot will exactly look like. So I also crop on the computer, and often photos get the right "kick" then. Just like your did - what a difference!

alexa said...

The way he is placed just off the centre is a great tip. I don't do much when taking a photo other than try and sake sure nothing is growing out of any heads! But will crop later - but not usually so much that the background detail or context is lost. great question to ask …

Alison said...

I often crop my photographs...to be honest I usually just 'point and shoot'...especially if I can't be bothered looking for my glasses!
Alison xx

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I assume there will be cropping during editing, even if it is just zooming in some to remove extraneous background from an already well composed photo. I try to compose before I shoot but unless it's an inanimate object I don't always have a choice.

And even my inanimate objects have been known to move around between my posing them & taking the shots

Becky said...

Both in camera and after. It really depends on output. Some shots thrive with neutral space. Your shot of Andres is perfect, so natural yet his expression says so much. Great job Maria!