How often and how much do you crop?

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timo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,886
How often and how much do you crop?
3

A quote from one of Mike Johnston's recent posts on his excellent  The Online Photographer website, talking about viewfinders:

'Winogrand often barely looks through his viewfinder at all. Cartier-Bresson hid his camera behind a handkerchief in his hands, and it was said that he could get it to his eye, take a picture, and hide it again before most people even noticed what he was doing.'

In other words, precise framing in the camera wasn't their greatest priority. Which runs somewhat counter to all those people who obsess about 'getting it right in the camera'. For many great photographers, cropping, either radically or as fine adjustment, has always been  part of the creative process.  Personally I enjoy it - many photos are improved that way. Plus ... there's nothing sacrosanct about particular aspect ratios. They are just accidents of history.

How much time and concentration do you give to cropping before you post images online or have them printed?

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 6,737
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
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Often and sometimes severely. Even though I am a sooc jpeg user, I tend to be a telephoto fanatic. And just can't handle or afford the telephoto lens that would give me what I want many times for my apsc sensor cameras, therefore resort to cropping. And for my smaller sensor cameras, most of them do not have the telephoto range that keeps me happy, so again, cropping is usually involved. But I seldom ever crop on wider angle shots as I use zoom lenses almost exclusively and frame in camera. I also seldom crop images from my Nikon P900, but have plenty of zoom range on it without cropping.

yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 15,565
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
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When I talk about "getting it right in camera" I am talking primarily about exposure. Light is the thing I am most interested in at the  actual moment. If I get the subject in frame and mostly where I want it to be, that's good enough on the framing front.

I work out my compositions by cropping. Digital lets me take my time and experiment, often creating several "finished" images out of the same exposure. Squares are my particular passion. Sometimes I play around with setting my cameras to shoot squares, but mostly I use the sensor's native format to gather the maximum amount of data and then crop.

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 32,751
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
3

I crop for two reasons: one is part of straightening up the verticals on buildings, or making the horizon of the sea level.

The other is to improve the composition.

Note that cropping doesn't always reduce the image area: the crop tool in Photoshop and in Affinity Photo can be dragged outside the image area -- for instance, to add more sky.

Don

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Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 9,193
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
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As little as possible, except I do crop my 4/3 sensor to 4:5 as a rule, and straighten a tilted horizon.

Part of this is just that I like to compose in the camera. Part of it goes back to my 35mm film days when cropping cost too much quality.

Gato

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OP timo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,886
Re: How often and how much do you crop?

yardcoyote wrote:

When I talk about "getting it right in camera" I am talking primarily about exposure. Light is the thing I am most interested in at the actual moment. If I get the subject in frame and mostly where I want it to be, that's good enough on the framing front.

I work out my compositions by cropping. Digital lets me take my time and experiment, often creating several "finished" images out of the same exposure. Squares are my particular passion. Sometimes I play around with setting my cameras to shoot squares, but mostly I use the sensor's native format to gather the maximum amount of data and then crop.

Yes, I think we are pretty much in the same place.  I also like square crops - I find with a lot of photos nothing is really lost by doing this, and the overall effect is much more concentrated.

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WarrenPeas
WarrenPeas Senior Member • Posts: 1,013
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
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With the exception of landscape, I crop more often than not for other types of photography.  Framing is important, but cropping can create differing compositions that can enhance or be detrimental to a photo -  viewer subjective.

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jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 6,430
obsession?
3

timo wrote:

A quote from one of Mike Johnston's recent posts on his excellent The Online Photographer website, talking about viewfinders:

'Winogrand often barely looks through his viewfinder at all. Cartier-Bresson hid his camera behind a handkerchief in his hands, and it was said that he could get it to his eye, take a picture, and hide it again before most people even noticed what he was doing.'

In other words, precise framing in the camera wasn't their greatest priority. Which runs somewhat counter to all those people who obsess about 'getting it right in the camera'.

To obsess has negative connotations ("preoccupy or fill the mind of someone continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent") that I don't think are applicable to most people who prefer not to crop or otherwise edit their pictures. It's not an obsession; it's just a way of doing things. When I shot slide film, I composed my picture in the viewfinder, knowing that whatever was in the frame when I took the shot would be on the screen when the slide was projected. I do the same with JPEG images. There's nothing intrusive or troubling about it because it's just taking pictures the way I've always taken pictures.

For many great photographers, cropping, either radically or as fine adjustment, has always been part of the creative process. Personally I enjoy it - many photos are improved that way. Plus ... there's nothing sacrosanct about particular aspect ratios. They are just accidents of history.

How much time and concentration do you give to cropping

There was a time when I might crop a bit because my DSLR did not have a 100% viewfinder, and sometimes there could be a distracting surprise or two around the edges. At present I'm using a camera whose viewfinder is accurate enough not to have that problem.

before you post images online or have them printed?

I don't post online or have pictures printed.  As with slides, I prefer to just view them on a screen.

OP timo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,886
Re: How often and how much do you crop?

D Cox wrote:

I crop for two reasons: one is part of straightening up the verticals on buildings, or making the horizon of the sea level.

The other is to improve the composition.

Note that cropping doesn't always reduce the image area: the crop tool in Photoshop and in Affinity Photo can be dragged outside the image area -- for instance, to add more sky.

Don

Yes. Even if I didn't want to crop, I would still have to a bit in many instances because a detached retina op nearly 20 years ago means that my two eyes have different perceptions of horizontal, two or three degrees rotated. My poor old brain has managed to accommodate them to a compromise somewhere in the middle. But this means that when I look through one eye only (i.e. though the VF), my perception of horizontal is then consistently a few degrees off.

Makes hanging pictures straight a bit of a challenge too ...  

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tony field Forum Pro • Posts: 13,250
Re: How often and how much do you crop?

Generally, I crop only to fix minor composition issues. In some rare cases, I reevaluate an image which might result in significant crop.

Even for awkward sports, cropping should be minimal other than minor adjustments

The degree of cropping is often predicated by the subject material and your lens choice. Hopefully you can put everything together and eliminate the need for crop

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BertIverson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,478
Mostly minor cropping but all images ...
1

timo wrote:

...

How much time and concentration do you give to cropping before you post images online or have them printed?

I rarely print nor post on-line. I usually view my photos on my 16:9 4k screens.  If "time is of the essence" when shooting, framing accurately gets abused.
So my cropping is usually minor: straightening horizon/verticals, "artistic" cropping of my 3:2 image ie portrait / scenery orientation (I rarely ever rotate my camera when shooting -- lazy I guess).
I do, however, enjoy the cropping process and all other issues aside, I crop 16:9 simply to fill my screen.

my 0.02
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Ed B
Ed B Forum Pro • Posts: 12,397
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
3

timo wrote:

A quote from one of Mike Johnston's recent posts on his excellent The Online Photographer website, talking about viewfinders:

'Winogrand often barely looks through his viewfinder at all. Cartier-Bresson hid his camera behind a handkerchief in his hands, and it was said that he could get it to his eye, take a picture, and hide it again before most people even noticed what he was doing.'

In other words, precise framing in the camera wasn't their greatest priority. Which runs somewhat counter to all those people who obsess about 'getting it right in the camera'. For many great photographers, cropping, either radically or as fine adjustment, has always been part of the creative process. Personally I enjoy it - many photos are improved that way. Plus ... there's nothing sacrosanct about particular aspect ratios. They are just accidents of history.

How much time and concentration do you give to cropping before you post images online or have them printed?

I guess everyone is different, but I post process every image I intend to keep and usually slightly crop almost every image.

No matter how perfect I try to get everything when I'm taking a picture, I always feel that minor post-processing improves an image and light cropping can be an important part of the process.

On the other hand, my favorite camera has a fixed 35mm lens and, depending on how close I am to the main subject, I might want to crop more than usual to get what I want.

Most (all?) of my pictures are only snapshots, so I need all the help post-processing can provide just to get decent results.

richj20 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,181
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
2

I crop often when photographing insects, where I can't get any closer, or don't want to get too close.

With a large FF sensor, I'm able to preserve good detail.

Original

But for other wildlife, I use a telephoto lens on a smaller sensor camera (MFT), so I do not crop very much to avoid loss of detail. If too far away, I don't click. There will be other opportunities.

Original

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Smaug01
MOD Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,667
Re: How often and how much do you crop?

timo wrote:

A quote from one of Mike Johnston's recent posts on his excellent The Online Photographer website, talking about viewfinders:

'Winogrand often barely looks through his viewfinder at all. Cartier-Bresson hid his camera behind a handkerchief in his hands, and it was said that he could get it to his eye, take a picture, and hide it again before most people even noticed what he was doing.'

I have read about Bresson that he took pride in the fact that his photos didn't need cropping; he often had them printed showing the edges of the frame. You could say that he cropped in-camera and was very good/quick about it.

I don't know if Winogrand cropped afterwards, but I've read about him that he didn't even have all his film developed; hundreds of exposed rolls were found after his death. That takes it to a whole other level. If he didn't even care enough (or couldn't afford) to develop his film, he would JOLLY well not bother to crop! 

<snip>

How much time and concentration do you give to cropping before you post images online or have them printed?

Posting online - If I glance at it for a couple seconds and feel like it needs cropping, I crop it. I try to only show my best stuff, so those that do get shown may as well be at their best.

Printing - I think hard about it. I have them cropped perfectly, because I'm spending money here.

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SUPER-ELMAR
SUPER-ELMAR Senior Member • Posts: 1,109
Re: How often and how much do you crop?

Fine adjustment or leveling a horizon.  I prefer to fill the frame with my subject - that is to get closer.

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 6,737
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
1

I know the feeling, detached retina here also. Have recently got better use of the  old bad eye it still doesn't align with the good one. Prisms in glasses help, but I also have distortion in vision of that eye, which confuses things more. It is not my master eye, so  all camera work uses the good one. And for other stuff I still close the funny eye a lot. Judging level is easier that way.

Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 6,737
Re: obsession?

My habitual cropping is an obsession, I admit to that one.  Just always want to get closer.

Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 6,737
Re: Mostly minor cropping but all images ...
1

That's why I love my 3:2 screens. 

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 9,193
Re: How often and how much do you crop?
1

Smaug01 wrote:

timo wrote:

A quote from one of Mike Johnston's recent posts on his excellent The Online Photographer website, talking about viewfinders:

'Winogrand often barely looks through his viewfinder at all. Cartier-Bresson hid his camera behind a handkerchief in his hands, and it was said that he could get it to his eye, take a picture, and hide it again before most people even noticed what he was doing.'

I have read about Bresson that he took pride in the fact that his photos didn't need cropping; he often had them printed showing the edges of the frame. You could say that he cropped in-camera and was very good/quick about it.

I think that's a large part of it. He had the experience and skills to work very quickly with the camera.

I don't know if Winogrand cropped afterwards, but I've read about him that he didn't even have all his film developed; hundreds of exposed rolls were found after his death. That takes it to a whole other level. If he didn't even care enough (or couldn't afford) to develop his film, he would JOLLY well not bother to crop!

I think Winogrand, toward the end, was more interested in doing photography than in showing or producing finished photographs. The thing for him was being out on the street with a camera. That's from reading and from a couple of my friends who knew him in Austin.

But if you look at the photographs he did print most of them have very strong composition within the frame even though he was said to work very quickly.

Both of these were people who had put in a lot of time and work learning to compose quickly in the camera.

JoeSchmoe007 Regular Member • Posts: 461
At least 80% of pictures and up to 25% of original size when shooting sports.
1

The answer is very much dependent on what you shoot and if you can control the framing and subject distance at all during the shoot.

I just got into the hobby of shooting sports and I crop at least 80% of pictures and up to 25% of original size when shooting sports. I have EOS RP and use it with RF 100-400 lens.

I would imagine shooting wildlife will be similar.

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