Quick Fix Fridays: Cropping – Your Second Chance At Composition

Edward Weston (March 24, 1886 – January 1, 1958) has been called one of the most innovated and influential American photographers. He was big on composition, and his quote on composition says it all: "Composition is the strongest way of seeing."

When you are looking through your camera’s viewfinder, you decide what’s in the frame, as well as what’s out of the frame. Your photograph is a representation of your own unique vision – which is very cool.

At times, however, we can’t get it just right in camera, either because the subject is too far away or because we don’t have the right lens. That’s where cropping comes in. Cropping gives us a second chance at creative composition.

When I give workshops, I stress the importance of composition and cropping. I also suggest to the students that when cropping, they look for pictures within a picture. Often times, there are several pictures within a picture. You just need to look for them.

Here’s the original file from which I made the opening image for this post. That opening image is the image I saw in my original file, but you may prefer a slightly different crop. 

Above is another possible crop. I like that crop, too.

To change the mood of the scene, I applied the Duplex filter in Nik Color Efex pro to both images. That filter can warm up and soften an image. Beautifully. As always, the mood is the most important element in a photograph.

When you crop, you reduce the file size of your image. That’s usually OK, if the crop is not that severe and if you only want to publish on the web or mobile device. When making a print, however, you may need to upsize your picture.

Photoshop CS6 does a good job at upsizing a file when you select Bicubic Smoother (under Image Size). Perfect Resize, a Photoshop plug-in by onOne software, is another option for upsizing a file.

When cropping in Photoshop, un-check Delete Cropped Pixels. In doing so, you can go back and re-crop your original image.

Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.

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