Cropping Images

[vision_content_box style="teal-grey" title="Cropping Images • Article By David Hay"][vision_feature icon="fa-camera" icon_color="#82c982" icon_color_hover="#ffffff" bg_color_hover="#82c982" border_color="#82c982" border_width="2px" animate="in_from_top"]Cropping is an important part of the composition process, but many of us stick to the traditional film formats. David Hay suggests keeping an open mind, trying different aspect ratios and even experimenting with automatic computer cropping![/vision_feature][/vision_content_box]

Nature does not always arrange landscape features into neat boxes to fit our sensors so we may have to crop off parts of an image to improve the composition. Should we stick to traditional film formats when cropping?

There is a case to be made for sticking to well-known film formats, such as 5x4, 16x9 or square, if you are producing a set of prints to be displayed as a group. Photographic exhibitions can look more coherent if all of the images are presented in the same format. However, for individual images cropping can be done to any shape, which accentuates the image by concentrating and arranging the main features to maximum effect. You should be looking to cut out dead space in an image, although you should also be aware that ‘negative space’ can be beneficial, especially in images which convey a feeling of emptiness or remoteness.

The square crop is a very stable format which can give old-fashioned appeal to classic landscape images. Some people find the 3:2 ratio of most sensors a little too long and rectangular, so they crop their images down to 5:4 to reduce this effect. However, if you prefer a wider effect, it can be better to change to 16:9 or panoramic format as this encourages the eye to scan all the way across an image, emphasising the landscape. There is no need to stick precisely to these shapes if it doesn’t suit the image though. Often, all that is required is a...

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About Author

David Hay

I took up photography at the age of eleven and have been passionate about it ever since. As a retired biologist I still marvel at the beauty of the natural world and try and capture the colours and forms of natural things around me.

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