This week’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge (CCY) Theme is Cropping. As of January 2016, this challenge runs on the 2nd and 4th week of each month. Challenges will be open for two weeks.
For your weekly assignment I would like to see at least 4 cropped photos showing the before and after results. Please describe what you learned in this lesson as well.
Each week I will select several features from everyone who submits an entry. And from those posts that I feature, I will grant one blogger the Gold Star Award. To find out who was awarded the Gold Star Award and Features for this week, please see CCY Features Week #14 Symmetry.
Note: Participants who do not have at least 4 photos showing their attempt at this week’s topic in their post will not be featured nor be considered for the Gold Star Award.
Cropping – My Most Powerful Tool
My favorite and most powerful tool is cropping. Rarely do I publish a photograph that isn’t cropped, at least a little. Cropping can take a mediocre photo and make it good, and a good photo and make is great. Not always. But it is true more of the time then not.
Cropping is the first step in really being creative with your photography. You don’t have to know how to do fancy post-edits or have expensive software. Cropping can dramatically change the feel of a photograph with little time, effort and money expended on your part.
Here are some handy rules for effective cropping:
- Take multiple shots, especially if there is a lot of background noise in the picture. Tighten your focus for one shot. Move out a little for the next, then a little more. Digital memory is cheap, so use it to your advantage. You can never predict what is a picture that you can crop to more dramatic effect, so give yourself plenty of “canvas” to work with.
- With digital cameras, always have your resolution set to fine detail. You want to grab as many pixels as possible, so that you can crop a picture down to a quarter of its original size, for example, and still have beautiful detail.
- When cropping, remember your Rule of Thirds and the other ideas of good composition we’ve been talking about. Think about what you want your subject to be and how to highlight it, then crop the picture to get things just the way you want them and WHERE you want them.
Now let me show you where I’ve done some cropping and let you know my thinking during the editing process.
In this photo of MacKenzie I thought she was just so adorable. I happened to have my camera next to me and I knew if I got up and walked to get a close up shot of her, she would move. So I settled for a photo that had a lot of “noise” in it. I knew I could crop this photo because my camera was set for a fine resolution. This photo was taken about 7 years ago with a Sony Point and Shoot.
Here is the cropped version.
When taking photos of seagulls that are flying, or in this case looking for food Chris was throwing out, it is hard to capture them in a good spot on your photo. So I tend not to zoom in too closely and if I get a clear shot, I can then crop to what I feel gives me the best photo.
Here is my final result.
In my first two photos I made some dramatic crops. In this photo of with the woman’s hand spinning, the crop wasn’t as significant, but I think there was a dramatic difference, because it really focus on the strength and artistry of her hands. Note that the bobbin on the spinning wheel on the right bottom corner is spinning quite fast.
Here is my final result.
Chris took this next photo with her wide angle lens on her Nikon D60. She loves the wide angle effect. I did the post processing on this photo. Chris decided she wanted to crop the cars and she wanted the Astoria Column more centered. Although the Column still looks a little off because she took the photo at a slight angle, if you follow the side walk.
Here is here results.
Here are some other examples that I found. Simply click on any photo to see them full-sized.
- #16 Complementary Colors (starts 2nd Wednesday of February)
- #17 Contrasting Colors (starts 4th Wednesday of February)
- #18 Geometry (starts 2nd Wednesday of March)
- #19 Balance (starts 4th Wednesday of March)
Qi (energy) hugs