Monday, October 8, 2012

Cropping Your Photos

After taking a flash card full of photos, the next step is downloading them into your computer to see if they remotely resemble the perfect compositions you envisaged while you were taking them.

After adjustments for brightness and contrast, and sometimes color correction, the most helpful step that can be taken for a better digital photo is cropping. You can accomplish a lot by resetting the picture boundaries --by what you include and what you don't include in the finished product.

Hopefully we have taken into account lighting conditions, the angle of the shot, and composition within the shot. Once we have these variables under control, we have the basic requirements for a good photo. The gorgeous tree peony blooms have all the required components, but are somewhat swallowed by their surroundings.

Cropping puts the peonies front and center.

Above is a rather confused grouping of peach-pink iris.

Cropping imposes structure and gives the composition a flow and focus.  If you don't have cropping software, try Picasa, a great free download, for organizing and editing your photos, at

Above is blue-eyed grass, a picture taken for identification purposes. The dry, cracked, and littered dirt around the plant didn't do much to set the plant off, even if it is for identification purposes.

The same photo cropped and brightened to take as much extraneous background out as possible. Now you concentrate on the plant without distractions.

The famous Stargazer lily, above, looking dark and overwhelmed in its underexposed surroundings

Cropping and contrast adjustment brings out the brightness and and makes it the star of the show

An crowded and unimproved shot of sunflowers and tules (bulrushes), above.

Cropped to cut away dead and dying flowers, create balance, and put the emphasis on the bright yellow.

While a nice shot of white bleeding heart, above, the cropped photo, below, takes away some of the busy-ness and distraction of the surrounding foliage.

I love cropping - an essential part of getting the very best shot you can.

Also see:

How to Crop Images  Digital Photography School

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