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Tip & Trick Thursday: Cropping

One of the best things I learned early on about editing my photos is cropping.  Ideally, one would like to shoot the perfect shot every frame without any distractions around the border, or have the right idea about a shot…but sometimes, a lot of times things just end up differently on film or on your computer than you pictured in your head while you were shooting.  Enter: cropping.

Cropping is great for things like…

  • you shot a landscape (frame goes horizontally), and maybe decided while editing you wanted it portrait style (vertically)
  • accentuating features by trimming unnecessary information in the background, foreground, etc.
  • emphasizing a subject by cropping in closer so they take up most of the frame
  • creating visual interest by cropping the frame to fit the subject (like a square crop around a square object, etc.)
  • cropping out any objects creating visual tension (when somethings too close to the edge or to the subject that distracts your eye), or cropping out distracting objects

Below are some examples of my own work where cropping was necessary to end up with the best end result.


the original - pretty lights, right? (Nikon D40)
cropped, the skyline is accentuated

When I first uploaded the pictures from this night onto my computer I didn’t really like it because even though I had to scour the hills of Berkeley to get a good enough spot to shoot from in the freezing cold at night on a VERY steep hill in front of someones driveway on a very busy street corner, the tree was still really distracting in the original photo and I was pretty bummed about not getting all of the harbor area I was hoping to get.  With gift of cropping I’m still able to salvage the beautiful San Francisco skyline.  Problem solved.


the original, shot portrait style (35mm color film)
cropped, squareish landscape style, and now no more distracting huge tree!

Even though I utilized some selective focusing in the original, the huge cypress tree in the background was really distracting, it made the entire shot feel a little unfocused and draws your eye upward when my original intention was to draw your eye downward to the headstones.

Try cropping some of your photos you may have previously disregarded as boring or trash and see what you come up with.  In fact, link me to them!!  I’d love to see your original vs cropped photos! :)

2 thoughts on “Tip & Trick Thursday: Cropping

  1. WOW!!!! I had no clue how knowledgeable you are! I also had no clue what you meant until viewing your examples. GREAT JOB AND TEACHING!!!!!!!!!

    1. lol well I’m glad I could help you mom. :)