Cropping an Image – Why? Because I Like It That Way.


While I was vacationing last month, I was helping folks with blogging, photographing and using an iPad for both. My friend with whom I was traveling, was a first time blogger and iPad owner. She used her iPad mini as a camera.


Her first images were nothing to write home about, but by the end of the trip, she was photographing like a pro. One thing she learned on the iPad was how to edit images and next thing I knew, she was editing like a pro as well. But one thing I noticed was she took some of the editing too far, cropping with abandon. Even though I suggested some images were just fine as shot, she still cropped them. I asked why, and she said she liked them better that way.


Not much to debate with that reply. I can say that about the photo above too. Not quite sure why it appeals to me, maybe it has a story to tell.


Even though the photos were quite nice, what she was missing was telling any type of story. She cropped the story from the pictures. No context was left. Is bigger better?

I also explained how making the subject bigger, like below, degrades the image where it is not as sharp and the background gets pixellated, especially when viewed on a high-resolution iPad. It is the same bird as the following image, only cropped to the larger format. I just happen to like it showing more willow tree in context.


I am guessing because the subject was bigger, that is what she found appealing. In my post, I have images of Baltimore Orioles I photographed this Spring. Tell me if you think they should be cropped? Is bigger, better?


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7 Responses to Cropping an Image – Why? Because I Like It That Way.

  1. Hi Donna,
    Welcome back! You have had quite the two months – I hope your return to Niagara Falls has not been too overwhelming.

    I guess cropping depends in part on the megapixels of the camera and, as you stated, the story you want to tell. These days I shoot everything in camera raw but I suspect you don’t. My stories are often about a specific flower which means I attempt to remove the noise of contrasting or competing stories that are captured by the lens. If there is a building in the background or a park bench, I find the portion of the photo that is just subject of the photo and crop the remainder while keeping the same 3:2 ratio. But I typically write about flowers as a representation of love, one flower at a time, whereas you write about composition and design effect – I have learned from you to attempt to incorporate more of that into my photos.

    Through experience, I have learned to watch resolution but I find that is more of an art than a science. And I often attempt some color adjustment using Photoshop: blues and purples don’t print like you see them, and I have not yet mastered light so that the pinks need to be touched up to make them as brilliant as I see them. At times I find it hard to adjust the colors while still preserving the sense that the photo is believable – then I look at the photo on another monitor or in print form to only realize I still have a lot to learn.


  2. Of course, every photographer has to decide what the photo is. Is it a picture of a bird, or a picture of a bird in a tree? Once you decide that, you know how to crop it.

  3. My Heartsong says:

    Very pretty, with blossoms that show habitat and close-ups of the oriole that shows detail in the feathers.

  4. Great post! Bigger and closer-up is not always better, in my view. I love the further-away shots above that show the blossoms. I also really like the last shot, without white blossoms, but with a lot to say about the Oriole’s possible ‘intent’!

  5. Great comments here as well as the post. Agree, that I think the composition is dependent on the subject. And whether or not there is a story to tell. And then the individual comes into play as well.
    I’m not liking some of the photos I’m seeing (like on Facebook) where they are so saturated. They almost remind me of comic books.

  6. I like viewing the birds in their habitat and if I can get a close up to see details of the bird then I do, but I tend to not ever crop as it degrades the picture.

  7. Lyle Krahn says:

    I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best crops. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what I like. But you’re absolutely right – when the photographer likes it that’s a great reason.

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