If you have images you know could be better, but you’re not sure how to proceed, or if you’re new to cropping photos and want to achieve maximum impact, today you’ll learn how to improve the composition of your photos by cropping effectively.
5 Tips for Cropping Photos:
- Remove edge distractions
- Position the subject
- Alter the aspect ratio if needed
- Rotate or tilt
- Crop in-camera whenever possible
In the video tutorial, I cover each of the points above in more detail. Make sure you watch it all the way to the end!
Did you watch the entire video? If you want to see more of my soon-to-be patented (just kidding) upside-down trick, watch this one too!
Another article that is also related to these ideas, if you want more reading is How to Quickly Improve Your Images by Checking the Background
Before and After Examples of Cropping Photos
As mentioned above I cover each of the tips in greater detail in the video and provide several more examples. But here are a few before and after image sets.
#1 Edge Distractions
Crop to remove distracting elements from the edges of your image.
#2 Subject Placement
Make a conscious choice in deciding where to place the image within the confines of the frame. Think about the rule of thirds, get the subject off-center, and consider space around the subject.
#3 Try Other Aspect Ratios
Just because your camera shoots in the 4:3 aspect ratio (width: height) doesn’t mean you have to keep it that way. I crop the image as I see fit for maximum impact.
If you want to know WHY I cropped this into a panoramic format, watch the video tutorial above.
#4 Rotate or Tilt the Photo
Sometimes a little tilt or rotation of your image can create more dynamic diagonal lines. Try it!
#5 Crop In-Camera Whenever Possible
In the example below, I didn’t crop well in-camera and need to crop in quite significantly to make the image more effective.
So try to be conscious of the choices you make when you are photographing. Would the composition benefit by moving slightly left or right? How about a higher or lower camera angle?
They are things you cannot fix with cropping such as a tree behind someone’s head or a visible trash can in the background. By shifting your perspective both of those (and other) issues could have easily been solved.
Read: What is Visual Mass and How to Use it to Take Better Photos
A step to the right changes the arrangement of the elements in the frame – the tree isn’t in the same spot, and perhaps the trash can is now hidden behind the subject.
So don’t forget to . . .
So your assignment if you choose to accept it (this article will self-destruct in 30 seconds 😉 ) is to go through some of your own images and see how you can apply these tips.
Can you improve the composition by cropping out some distractions, or perhaps making the image square or panoramic?
Think about these tips when you’re photographing too and try to get the crop closer in-camera. Keep all the pixels and avoid cropping in post-production.
Please share any insights you have after doing this challenge in the comment area below.