Cropping (Less is Sometimes More)

Hi again. In this article, I’d like to discuss cropping. When I first started getting serious about photography, I didn’t really think much about cropping. I always figured that what I had shot is what would get printed out. But why does it have to be that way? If we can remove some things from an image to improve it, isn’t that a good thing? Sometimes it may be as simple as just chopping off a pesky lamp post. Other times it may be that the main subject only takes up a 1/4 of the image and it just gets lost. Other times still, you may realize that what you thought were the interesting bits, actually weren’t and the part you like most is off on the side or corner. Whatever the reason may be, a simple crop can add significant impact to your image.

Below I’ve made several crops from one of my own images. It’s a beach scene from a trip to Cancun. Every time I see it, I just want to go back and hang out in the hot sun. It was such a contrast to the perpetual grey of London, where I had been living. Anyways…. What I saw was a great sunrise with a very cool cloud formation. The sun’s rays were almost solid as they streamed through the openings in the clouds. I knew that I wanted more of a panoramic type shot so I would likely have to do some cropping afterwards but as I sat down with the image, I realized there were actually a lot of interesting shots within this one picture. Below are some examples.

Examples of different cropping decisions and the impact on the final image.

Examples of different cropping decisions and the impact on the final image.

Everything here is sourced from the topmost image. Some I think are successful, while others aren’t bad but are definitely not as good. I took 7 distinct crops out of this one but that is by no means all there is. I encourage you to find some of your own images and see if there is something you can pull out to add extra focus. Thanks for reading.

About Dov Plawsky

I am an aspiring freelance photographer and writer. I've always enjoyed the story around the picture and now want to expand upon that. I founded Beyond Your Bag to help share knowledge across like minded people and to hopefully connect those people to one another.