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Thread: How Much Cropping?

  1. #1
    ktuli's Avatar
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    How Much Cropping?

    All,

    This is something that I've been curious about for a long time, and finally decided to just throw it out there and ask.

    Basically - how much cropping do people do? I'm not asking how often do you crop - I expect that some people crop every time (a lot of people go by the theory that you leave room to crop in PP so you don't accidentally cut something off and ruin the shot completely). What I am interested in is what percentage of a shot do you crop?

    I've taken classes where the instructors told me that I shouldn't be cropping more than 5% maximum if I intended on printing the shot. But for sharing online, you can crop down to insane levels and still have room to spare.

    For example, check my red velvet mite post where I share the original and a fairly aggressively cropped version.

    What do folks here generally do? Feel free to share examples here if you like just so we can get an idea... sometimes I look at various shots and wonder just how much cropping was done.

    By the way - this is just a curiosity thing... there's certainly no right or wrong here... at least not that I'm going to judge.

    - Bill

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How Much Cropping?

    Bill

    My approach is:

    I shoot for a specific aspect ratio. That ratio is decided (usually via the use of some cut out cards that I made - one for each aspect ratio I like to finish up with - 1 x 1, 4 x 5, 7 x 5 or 16 x 9) before I press the shutter.

    I have found that, with practice, I can compose the shot with these cards. So I identify where my edges are going to be - The theory being that I'll have at least one edge (preferably two) that I don't need to crop.

    And then I line up the image in the camera with one or more edges lined up to where the edges of my final image are going to be.

    My rule (to which I don't/can't always adhere) is to get the image as big as possible in the camera that will allow me to achieve that chosen aspect ratio.

    Then, when back home, if I've done it right, I crop to that pre-determined aspect ratio as one of the first, if not the first, step in my workflow (I process my RAWs with DxO Optics pro and that allows me to crop right at the beginning).

    If I see a better composition in the image when I get back home that requires a harder crop, I try and discipline myself not to go for it on the computer, but to re-shoot. However, I have 'cheated', particularly if I know it's going to be difficult to re-visit the location.

    Has any of that made any sense?
    Last edited by Donald; 12th May 2011 at 08:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: How Much Cropping?

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    All,

    This is something that I've been curious about for a long time, and finally decided to just throw it out there and ask.

    Basically - how much cropping do people do? I'm not asking how often do you crop - I expect that some people crop every time (a lot of people go by the theory that you leave room to crop in PP so you don't accidentally cut something off and ruin the shot completely). What I am interested in is what percentage of a shot do you crop?

    I've taken classes where the instructors told me that I shouldn't be cropping more than 5% maximum if I intended on printing the shot. But for sharing online, you can crop down to insane levels and still have room to spare.

    For example, check my red velvet mite post where I share the original and a fairly aggressively cropped version.

    What do folks here generally do? Feel free to share examples here if you like just so we can get an idea... sometimes I look at various shots and wonder just how much cropping was done.

    By the way - this is just a curiosity thing... there's certainly no right or wrong here... at least not that I'm going to judge.

    - Bill
    I would do a severe crop on something similar to your mite shot. I photographed some crabs that were partially underwater because the number just didn't look aesthetically pleasing. Sometimes a photograph can look to even or symmetrical and you want to add a bit of a slant to it.

  4. #4

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    Re: How Much Cropping?

    It all depends what you are shooting, Bill.

    With a static scene like a landscape, and with lighting/clouds, etc, that aren't going to change for a couple of minutes, you have plenty of 'thinking time' to consider all the issues and get perfect framing.

    But a lot of my photos are a case of 'look at that' pick up camera and click. Often there are surrounding objects etc which cannot be avoided with my current lens so cropping is intended right from first shutter click.

    Other scenes will be photographed in 3 x 2 ratio but I know it will have to become 5 x 4 to look correct.

    And of course, my insect photos often get massively cropped.

    Then there are always a few where I change my mind during editing. It looked fine through the viewfinder but not so good without a crop when seen on a full sized monitor image.

    Allowing for inevitable cropping is the only reason for having all those pixels to start with.

    But when cropping, I often leave excessive space around the chief subject for a tighter or alternative size crop later. For instance, particularly with wildlife, a scene might look best at 5 x 4, but later on, I must have it at 3 x 2 ratio for a specific purpose.

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