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Photos What's with all the cropping?

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by olv, 20 Nov 2007.

  1. olv

    olv he's so bright

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    I've got a bee in my bonnet recently and it's because of all the photos that have been put up that are cropped from their original size and dimensions.

    Personally I feel (and please feel free to disagree) that cropping an image later in photoshop is just a bit sloppy. especially if it isn't cropped with a 3:2 aspect ratio. to me it just screams out "Yeah, I admit it, it looked a bit pants so I gave it a bit of the 'omglolartistic crop' action in photoshop to try and rescue some merit in the photograph. To me it sort of defeats the purpose of having a viewfinder or even bothering to compose a shot properly before hand if you intend to pick the photo you actually wanted in photoshop.

    Seems a bit silly to me. If there's a shot there that you like then take the time to find it, spend 5 minutes getting the composition just right. and if the composition isn't there then there probably isn't a decent shot to be had so don't snap it anyway and try and force it later in photoshop by whipping out your marquee tool and going wild.

    Fair enough there are times when a bit of a cropping is necessary or you are purposefully wishing to have a square image or whatever but i think on the whole if everyone took that extra couple of seconds to compose then there'd be no need to bodge out a crop later.

    Is it just me?
     
  2. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    For those of us without megatastic zooms or the environment prohibits getting any nearer a subject, cropping can work wonders. It can bring a previously meh image to life.
     
  3. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    I'm sure people that have their own darkrooms when using film would have been cropping in the same way when it called for it.
     
  4. Hwulex

    Hwulex New Member

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    No, I agree. Well, maybe not to the same degree of vendetta as you to have hatred for other shots that are cropped down or non-standard aspect ratios. However, personally yes, I will always take the time to compose the shot properly and fill the frame effectively. With the last set of shots I took (my mould mound) I must've adjusted my tripod a million times so I was using as much of the frame as possible and looking right to the edges to ensure they were filled effectively. I had to raise the tripod a few times because otherwise everything was too flat and I'd have had to crop top and bottom later, something I didn't want to do.

    Maybe we're in the minority, I dunno, but I do know that I make a hell of a lot more effort now than I used to. For the first 6-12 months of having my SLR it was as much about learning as anything else. During that period one of the things I learnt was learning to take time before firing the shutter. Taking time to compose a shot properly and to consider all aspects and teh whole frame before doing so. AS much as anything because sorting through so many shots began to get on my tits.

    Also, yeah, I'm a sucker for standard aspect ratios. I hate to crop my shots at all but if required, I hate to format my shots to anything other than 2:3 or, at a push, 5:7. There'll be the odd suitable application for 1:1 but they are few.

    I think we should remember there are a lot of true beginners in the forum with us and they, I imagine, are going through the same learning process I (we?) did and will continue to do so for some time and long may we help them to continue to learn and grow.

    Now didn't that last bit sound all rather ghey. :D
     
  5. olv

    olv he's so bright

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    as i said there are situations where i think it's more ok, shooing the moon for one, airshows another (although arguably why anyone would ever been wanting to shoot an airshow i have no idea but that's an entirely different discussion), motorsports to a lesser extent as it's mostly covering up for lack of skill, probably one of the hardest areas of shooting motorsport i think. also if you need to rotate a horizon and obviously crop off the edge. other then that just get close to the subject :p

    And jamie, think that if you will but somehow i doubt it was used all that often because a lot more thought goes into a film shot and you make sure your composition is right because you dont want to waste an exposure. whereas with digital it's all click click click, oh that's a bit crappy, let's fix it with a crop.

    and my beef is mostly with random extra thin crops and just bizarre things.
     
  6. olv

    olv he's so bright

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    i think you put my point across brilliantly Hwulex, got to agree on all counts. and yes of course everyone is still learning, well i am, loads, (taken to reading strobist recently and i find that i can't read an article with out subsequently opening up 3 others that are linked with it that i need to learn first :rolleyes:), but i think my point is that everyone would take better shots if you spend a few moments to think about it :)
     
  7. Naked_Dave

    Naked_Dave New Member

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    I'd say use the best aspect ratio for the photograph. The standard in camera viewfinder is there as a guide, not an absolute limit. It's a compromise ratio that works for the majority of photos, just like the automatic modes on your camera. It's not supposed to fit every photo perfectly. If it was, we wouldn't have so many different film ratios (just look at how many different ones are available with medium format! Cropping to disguise a mistake is one thing, but artists shouldn't be limited by decisions made by engineers and technicians.
     
  8. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    Speaking as somebody who spent 6 years of his life studying photography before the digital realm, I can say that's not true at all. Cropping is just another part of the photographic process, and it's no different than selecting a particular developing chemistry, burning, dodging, or any of the other traditional dark room tools that photographers have been using since the beginning.

    Ansel Adams spends an entire section in his book "The Print" talking about cropping, and this was a man that spent a lot of time composing his shots in the viewfinder. Actually, I recall reading something about him starting the cropping process before he even set up the camera. When he saw a scene he liked, he would sometimes assemble two right angles into a frame, and would adjust the frame until he found the composition he liked.

    Sometimes I have the luxury of taking my time and composing properly. Sometimes I don't, so I use the crop tool later. Sometimes I play around with my shots and discover other artistic compositions that weren't immediately obvious. I agree with Naked_Dave in that the composition should suit the photograph. I'd hate to think of how many wonderful prints I would have missed if I tried to cram everything into a specific aspect ratio.

    Just my 2 cents.

    -monkey
     
  9. olv

    olv he's so bright

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    well clearly i'm wrong on the dark room point and i've always strongly supported Adams and thought 'well if he can do it with film, i can do it with digital' but your point goes to strengthen my point in that he was so thorough in composing the right shot that he knew before hand if he was going to crop a shot. not add it as an afterthought.
     
  10. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    I think you are being a bit arrogant to be perfect honest. Everybody has their own way of doing things.
     
  11. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Yep. I prefer to crop because I enjoy non-standard sizes - I like super wide shots or particularly tall ones, where the CCD is a set size so virtually no shot is exactly what I want.

    In fact I dont like square shots, I find them boring.
     
  12. BUFF

    BUFF New Member

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    As mentioned most viewfinders aren't 100% to start with so you've already cropped the image in camera.
    & as a dyed in the wool aviation enthusiast I can't see why you wouldn't want to take photographs at an airshow. ;)
     
  13. olv

    olv he's so bright

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    well then you've completely missed my point
     
  14. Nexxo

    Nexxo Stopped treating this country as if it was his own

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    Well now, that's a bit harsh. After all olv said:
    It is not as if he is saying: "Cropping is WRONG, you photographic sinners! You will burn in the everlasting flames of inequity and vice for this hideous immoral abomination against all that is holy and good in photography! Repent! Repent!!!"

    I mean, give the man a break for voicing his personal opinion.
     
  15. 3dHeli

    3dHeli New Member

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    I do candid portrait and sport photography - and I always try to crop in camera - mainly to save myself time later in the process, and to capture highest resolution.

    But I fully accept and appreciate, that many (if not most) great photographers (going back in time, thus including film) would crop at the printing stage to make more of a picture.

    What I think is bad is really sloppy unconsidered cropping at the shooting stage - done with no thought.

    On a wedding photograph, it's use would effect the crop . . . in an album with a mount around concealing some of the image, I might deliberately want extra space around brides shoes or a cars bumper . . . but then in an advertising shot that might be cropped out for artisitic effect or due to format (sqqare, rectangle etc) of use. Whilst most of my images are used the same ration as captured (3:2) I might find myself making some squarer for a better effect.

    If one accepts some pictures might better quit a square format camera, some a 3:2, some a 4:5, some a panorama . . . then if you only have one camera, cropping to achieve the results of the other seems a fair and sensible artisitc action . . . . and this could only be done at print/processing stage.

    So I personally would NOT judge a photographer because they DO or DO NOT crop (to best effect) at the capture stage . . . . providing they have considered reasons for doing so and are not creating extra unneccesary work later. I feel a childrens school photographer, taking 400 individual head and shoulder portraits is an example of someone who should crop every picture in the viewfinder . . . . unless printing to another format afterwards (shooting 3:2, printing 4:3).
     
  16. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    I think my beef is that if saw a great photo in a shop, bought it, hung it on your wall and thought it was the best thing ever, would you then be a bit miffed if you found out the photographer had cropped it?

    I don't think it should matter how you reach your end result as long as it looks great.
     
  17. Hwulex

    Hwulex New Member

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    I'm of completely the opposite opinion, with the exception of a good panorama. I can't stand thin shots, in either orientation. Like olv hinted, it just looks like there was something in teh frame you didn't want and didn't compose well enough at time of shooting so have tried to remedy with a crop. Standard ratios plskthxbye.

    As for the point made about not having 100% coverage in teh vf, I find that quite useful. Whilst I will try my utmost to crop effectively in camera, I can sometimes go a little too tight but only realise on reviewing and back home from location. As I continue to learn, It's sometimes nice to have that ~5% extra round the edge to play with.
     
  18. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    On the topic of thin crops would looking at my photograph below would you seriously say you want more sky or more ground in this shot?

    [​IMG]

    Everyone seemed to like my shot of the BP bridge in Chicago last month but are you going to say it's bad that I stitched two photographs together to make it? I don't have a 10-22 like most of the people here so I had to make do with a not so wide lens so multiple shots and some cropping was the only way.
     
  19. c.u.later

    c.u.later New Member

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    think this might be pointed at people like me :p, but what's wrong with using a crop if you achieve your desired result? I like wide and thin shots, they can bring a picture to life if used right, but then again that's an opinion, so gotta respect it :p

    c.u.later
     
  20. Hwulex

    Hwulex New Member

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    Well when I said panorama, I kind of included wide landscape shots and teh one you've posted is a perfect example. Wonderful shot.

    And I've nothing against stitching for desired results, either. I've done the same on multiple occasions when I've not had the wide with me. I don't have time to find an example now, but I know what I mean when I'm talking thin crops. The ones posted are suitable uses, and are in agreement with your 'fair usage policy' (;)) but there's others that just make me go "urgh". Meh.
     
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