Creative Cropping

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There are occasions when the judicious use of cropping techniques can mean the difference between keeping and discarding a photograph. For the most part, unless you’re including the entire scene as the subject of the photograph, it is best to fill the frame with the subject as much as possible. Doing so will take a photograph like this (which is of some elk in Yellowstone National Park):

Road Trip Day 5_6 237

… and turn it into something like this:


… or this:


… or this:


You can see that the use of cropping can change the whole atmosphere of the photograph. Here’s an example where changing the angle of the shot from landscape (horizontal) to portrait (vertical) can significantly improve the framing:

My cat Oz is happy to pose his handsome self for your benefit…




Remember the rule of thirds, as well – the subject doesn’t HAVE TO be centered in the frame. Often times it makes the shot more interesting when the subject isn’t centered. And I just realized we don’t have a specific article describing the rule of thirds – I will correct that soon, but for the time being if you have no idea what I’m referring to, check out this article from the Digital Photography School.

Photo credits (all): Tiffany Joyce.

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  • Brett

    Cropping to a non-standard size can also instantly give a new feel. A perfectly square picture can be more interesting than one that fits the 5×7 type aspect ratio. Also a panoramic-type shot created solely through cropping can catch the eye purely by it's extremes.