Cropping a Photograph is a trivial operation, we can do it with any basic photo editing program. Beyond ideological inflexibility, this simple task should be more reflective. The word ideological inflexibility arrives as there are photographers who vow not to cut out the photos. Cropping a Photograph and Crop Factor is not the same – one can read about Crop Factor in case any doubt exists. Cropping a Photograph is practically necessary for another creative reason – for creation of Square Format Images.
Cropping a Photograph : Why Crop a Photo?
There are various results that can be achieved by cropping a photo, some have to do with your artistic vision, while the others are for simple fixes. Here they are explained.
Correcting the composition
If you do not have a trained eye or find yourself in a situation to be too exciting, you may not place your subject in the frame in the way you would like. In post-production, you could make a cutout for distribution of space in the picture much closer to your vision. Moreover, using the grids can overlap the image within the image editing programs (such as in Lightroom), it becomes very easy to adhere to the various rules of composition.
Sometimes, for instance; just because it was impossible to get closer, the main subject is actually becomes too small in the image. In addition, the background may not be quite blurred, the result is that the subject does not receive proper attention. Then a clean cut can remove a substantial portion of the photo and leave a lot more space to the subject. An extreme solution but sometimes can give a lot of strength to one shot.
Similarly, sometimes when shooting we do not realize that at the extremes of the frame there are unwanted objects. It happens easily on non-professional cameras where the viewfinder does not cover 100% of the area to be photographed. So the sensor registers more than what you see in the viewfinder. Think for example of a person who is entering or exiting a scene, a road sign, a man-made element inserted into a natural landscape. In these cases, you can make a cutout minimum and give more integrity to the photo.
Changing the Format
In 90% (and more) of the cases we take all the photos in the format typically of 3:2 or 4:3. This means that we always use the same ratio between width and height. Instead, the formats used are many in number and historically changing relationship also changes the composition of the entire image. For example, the square format, which we mentioned at the begining of this article. It is very popular on mobile phones in recent years.
From Horizontal to Vertical (and vice versa)
Sometimes, if you left enough space around the subject, you can fix it in post-production with a cutout. It often happens that when you have people as subjects standing and want to take advantage of the vertical cut to show them in their entirety. Switching from vertical to horizontal is more difficult, because you have to crop more of the photos, but you can always try.
In portraits, human figure as a whole is important to cut at the right places. If your shot is too wide can led to unsightly amputations of arms, cutting or eliminating something more likely to improve the situation.
Cropping a Photograph : What you are likely to get?
All operations that has been described above can be used to save a photograph or make it more effective a photo. But you should be always careful about the negative consequences.
Loss of resolution
The first and most important negative consequence of the crop is the loss of resolution. If your photo has, for example, 16 megapixels and you are clippings quarter of the photo, you will find yourself with 12 megapixels. More is the cut, more is the risk to the picture to become “grainy” and not suitable for printing or for prints larger than a certain size.
Change of Focal Length
If you take a picture with two different lens of different focal lengths, the subject in the foreground is of same size, the relationship between the rest of the picture changes. Rare situation, but can happen.