98 — 3 reasons you SHOULD crop photos

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #98 talks about why it’s OK to crop pho­tos.
Many pho­tog­ra­phers on the Net and through­out Photography’s his­tory seem to be against crop­ping and in this pod­cast I explain why I am NOT one of them.

Guer­rillero Hero­ico by Alberto Korda — The cropped pho­to­graph of Che Gue­vara is one of the most rec­og­niz­able pho­tos on planet earth. Although the orig­i­nal is still a strong pho­to­graph, unlikely it would have become the icon it is with­out the crop.

Pablo Picasso by Arnold New­man — Arnold New­man was a strong believer in doing what­ever worked to improve his pho­tographs. This obvi­ously included crop­ping out about 65% of this very famous portrait.

Igor Stravin­sky by Arnold New­man — Most peo­ple would agree that the cropped ver­sion of this pho­to­graph is much stronger. In this case, less is WAY more in this unusual but extremely effec­tive crop.

Woman at the Door by Marko Kulik — This crop is uncon­ven­tional and delib­er­ate but I feel it helps the image and that’s the only rea­son it’s there.

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
July’s reg­u­lar assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum — My city OR my coun­try
July’s level 2 assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum — Cre­ative use of my country’s flag

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Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

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.