Monday, March 26, 2007

Why the title?

I might as well kick this blog off with an explanation for the title, and at the same time hopefully I won't piss too many of you off. Just do me one favor, before we get started: Hear me out, read the entire post carefully. Then if you want to break out the flame thrower and let me have it in the comments, well, so be it. But read the whole post or you're gonna look a little stupid for torching me. You see, I don't crop any of my images.

And you shouldn't either.

Now don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that all cropping is bad. If you look at a scene and see a panorama, but don't have the means to shoot several frames and stitch them together, then cropping that one image into a standard panorama format may be your only option. But you shouldn't put the camera to your eye and press the shutter release thinking that if you don't get the framing just right then you can always crop the photo later.

That would make you lazy.

Bad habits are easy to get into, but difficult to break. If you get into the habit of cropping all your images then you'll never put a lot of effort into composition or framing. Why should you when you can just crop it later, right? It's all good until someone asks you for an uncropped image and you don't have it, or the image you give them doesn't work because the composition is off. Start shooting photos for a stock agency and you'll find out just how painful that cropping habit can be. What if there isn't a single image in your portfolio that the agency can use because you always crop?

The viewfinder on my camera, and the size of its sensor, are my only crop -if I don't nail the composition and framing when I take the shot then the image goes into the bit bucket and I try again next time. I'm forced to wait for the right moment, to check and double check what I'm seeing, to look for different angles, or to get faster at composing my images correctly (shoot bees -they'll make you humble). The end result is that I have images that no one else has because sometimes cropping later, on the computer, doesn't work.

Welcome to the no cropping zone.
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