To crop or not to crop this photograph

Aside from tak­ing a ‘win­ning shot’ myself, I love to help peo­ple get the most from their images and I try to pro­vide daily advice to those peo­ple that post on our forum. Some­times peo­ple take my advice and some­times they don’t and that’s totally cool. The pho­tog­ra­pher of course decides the ulti­mate fate of his/her photograph.

Here is an exam­ple image that I wanted to share taken by JJelling a mem­ber of our pho­tog­ra­phy forum.

When I first looked at this image, I imme­di­ately liked it. I like the envi­ron­ment and the expo­sure is very well han­dled here. The thing I like about the shot the most though is the expres­sion of the girl on the right. It sug­gests day­dream­ing, veg­ging out or‚pensive thought dur­ing the daily com­mute.‚ What I like least about this shot is the woman on the left. She’s just not doing any­thing that con­tributes to the photo, she is shot from behind and takes up a promi­nent posi­tion in the pho­to­graph. I wish she was not there.

My sug­ges­tion to JJelling was to sim­ply crop her out and MAKE the shot about the girl on the right. Here’s my crop of his pho­to­graph which he gra­ciously allowed me to do.

For me, this image tells a stronger and tighter story, it’s clearer. But what about those beau­ti­ful win­dows on the left that get cropped out along with the girl?‚ Although I liked those win­dows and the light­ing, for me they needed to be sac­ri­ficed to get the strongest image pos­si­ble, albeit a dif­fer­ent image. Crop­ping out extra­ne­ous parts of images is a great way to guide the eye of the viewer and make the image stronger. Some­times the result­ing crop is obvi­ously bet­ter. Other times (like in this shot per­haps) we may be less sure.

What do other peo­ple think?‚ Which shot do YOU pre­fer? here’s the orig­i­nal link to the thread.