Many photographers view cropping as a method of resizing or resizing photos for post production. The fact is, however, that cropping is a much deeper concept, and I consider it an essential tool in perfecting a composition.
Capturing the right moment is a critical aspect of photography. It’s not always easy, and the ability to crop our images in the post to remove unwanted elements can often make our images stand out!
I often try to leave a little more space in my photos to crop them later. You can use many tools to crop your pictures, such as: B. Adobe Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Luminar, ON1 Photo RAW, etc. This article explains the best ways to improve your cropping skills for better composition.
Basic rules for cropping
I like to think of trimming as the first step in my post-production workflow as all of the composition depends on it. In addition, as you adjust color, exposure, contrast, etc., you observe your photo as a whole. If there are still some unwanted areas in the image, they can affect other postprocessing adjustments. However, your mileage may vary.
There are three things I look at and try to take into account when cropping an image: rotation, size, perspective.
Keeping the horizon straight in landscapes is important, but sometimes minor adjustments need to be made in the post. Rotating images, even slightly, can mean the difference between a slightly sloping horizon and a perfectly straight horizon.
As mentioned in this article, I tend to leave a small space to breathe in my paintings and then cut out unwanted areas. Obviously, this should be very subtle. Do you have a tree on the left side of your frame? It’s perfectly fine to cut it out.
Perspective distortion occurs when using wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle lenses. Vertical lines from buildings or other straight objects can appear distorted or crooked even when the horizon is perfectly horizontal.
You can manage perspective distortions using the perspective correction features that come with most post-processing toolslike the Crop tool or the Transform panel in Lightroom Classic.
While this is not a pure cropping exercise, adjusting the perspective in your image inevitably cuts out some parts.
Best tips for cropping
After we’ve worked through some of the basics of cropping, let’s go over a few “recommended course of actionAnd tips to keep in mind to improve your editing skills for better composition.
1. Crop to highlight your subject
When viewing your pictures in a post-processing app on your computer, you may find that you’ve caught some elements that could distract the viewer from the main subject.
However, these additional elements can add character to your photos, such as: B. context, texture or emotions. However, if you want your viewers to focus on the main subject, you can crop the additional elements from your photo.
2. Rule of thirds, golden ratio, etc.
Cropping can give your photos a whole new look and context, and the golden ratio or rule of thirds can help you with that.
Divide your photo into three parts both vertically and horizontally and place your main subject at the intersection. This will make your picture more visually appealing and attractive.
Most post-production programs these days have cropping overlay tools that will help you better align your main subject or point of interest.
3. Look for vertical lines
The consideration of vertical lines is the most important factor in capturing urban landscapes. If you use a camera with a wide angle lens, you will find that taller buildings are not perfectly vertical and some may appear crooked. You can use the cropping tools in your post-processing software to manage this problem.
4th Pay attention to horizontal lines
Keeping horizontal lines in mind is important if you are interested in landscape photography. As mentioned earlier, a misaligned horizon can make your photos uncomfortable and uncomfortable.
When shooting with a wide angle lens, you may notice a curved horizon. If your photo is balanced from right to left, it likely won’t feel uncomfortable. However, you can still use the perspective correction or cropping feature for a more appealing end result.
5. Select ratio in camera
Most modern cameras offer an aspect ratio of 5: 4 or 4: 3. Some cameras also allow you to set an aspect ratio of 16: 9. I always prefer to shoot with the maximum / largest aspect ratio and crop images later. Keep in mind that if you change your camera’s aspect ratio to anything other than the maximum ratio, your camera will essentially crop your images for you.
For example, if you take a photo with an aspect ratio of 16: 9, you cannot go back to 5: 4 without cropping an even larger part of your image. Not only does this lower the quality of your image, but you may also lose important elements, context, patterns, or textures.
Of course, you can change the aspect ratio at any time in post-production if necessary.
6th Refresh & reposition
Updating your photos draws your viewer’s attention to the main subject and plays an important role in portraits. Many people prefer to put their subjects in the center of the frame. However, by placing the main point of interest on the cutting lines of a rule of thirds grid, you can make your images more dynamic and vivid.
If you have pictures where your subject is centered and you have enough space to reposition your subject, give it a try. You might like the results better!
While we all strive to capture images right in the camera, sometimes we have to sacrifice composition to capture a fleeting moment. This is where cropping is really useful in post-production.
Hope this guide will help you improve your cutting skills. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.