The Digital Photo Guy

Cropping for Impact

by on Oct.19, 2011, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

Sometimes, It’s the Simple Things

I was reading George Jardine’s blog when I noticed myself paying particular attention to the crops. It had never occurred to me that I’m very persnickity about where I crop my photos. For example, in George’s photo of the gondolier on a cell phone (4th photo down), I found myself arguing with myself if the gondolier shouldn’t be further right so the viewer could see more of the wake left by the oar. In most photos, I agreed with George’s crop but, in some, I don’t.

Below are two version of a photo I plan to enter in a competition. The original is to the left and the crop is to the right. The reason I centered the eye on the original is because handholding a macro lens is pretty much a losing proposition. Trying to focus and recompose while handholding a macro is a fool’s game. Once I got focus confirmation, I took the shot before I wavered out of focus.

Can you explain why I cropped it as I did? Are there other crops that might work better?


Cautionary Tales

I received an e-mail that simply said, “I downloaded software you recommended and it caused problems for my computer. Your site isn’t for me” There was no mention of which program was downloaded, what problems it caused or what problem needed fixing. I immediately unsubscribed the person from my e-mail list to protect the reader from him/herself.

When I recommend a program, it goes without saying that readers should only use said program if it solves a need on their computer. If you don’t have a problem, don’t install random programs.

Name Change

For the past 8 years, I’ve been been writing and publishing Monday Morning Tips (MMTs.) Now, in an effort to do less marketing and more photography, I’ll no longer write MMTs every Monday. Articles will be posted as the thought moves me. Most will be shorter than previous MMTs that tended to run about 500 words. You can now think of MMTs as Mini-Micro Tips or Mini-Me Tips or My Mini Tips or, well, you get the idea. 😉


6 Comments for this entry

  • Dick

    Hi Lee, I agree with Andy & Jill that the seedpod tends to draw my eye away from the eye of the butterfly. I’d either blur it or loose it altogether.


    • Lee

      Thanks Dick,
      I’m working on a version that gets rid of the seed head as well as reconstructs the wingtip so it’s not going past the frame.


  • Jill Johnson

    Hi Lee, I too like this photo very much.
    I agree, that the seed pod would be better if more blurred.
    Also, I got marked down in competition because my flower was touching the edge, like your Butterfly wing. Don’t know which is really correct?????
    Good luck to You.
    Keep us posted.

    • Lee

      Hi Jill,
      Thanks. I agree, in most cases, the wing shouldn’t be touching the edge. In this case, I made a calculated decision that the center of interest was the butterfly’s eye, not the whole butterfly. I’ll have to rethink that and compare it to a fixed wingtip. Thanks for playing! I love it when readers catch me trying to cut corners.


  • Andy Kliss

    Nice shot Lee! IMHO, I would blur the background a bit more than it currently is in Photoshop (Gaussian Blur?) to minimize the background seed head from stealing the thunder of your subject. It distracts my eye (not that I abhor seed heads mind you), which causes my eyes to dart back and forth between your butterfly and the seed head.
    Good Luck mate, on your entry!

    • Lee

      Good Morning Andy,
      Thanks for the feedback. You’re probably right but, being a lazy sort, I think I’ll apply my basic crop rule, “When in doubt, square it out.” Using a square crop, I can almost completely crop out the seed head. The remaining little bit will be easy to clone out.


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