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.


MBrown said...

Okay, ... I'll jump! :)

First, I always try to get what I want from the start, ... full frame and no cropping.
It is a challenge to get it right from the start.
Lately though, and especially when working with art buyers and designers, ... cropping comes up often. "Very often!"
- Must be this size.
- Must crop out the top that shows about 5% blue sky.
- Eliminate that leaf.
- They want a more "vertical pano" feel to it that will fit on that wall right between those two doors.
- The mural will be 10ft high, and 22ft long.
- Well, ... can you crop it Mike?

Well lately, ... I have been cropping at the drop of a hat! LoL!
And of course, if I have simply screwed up and can fix it with a crop, ... and it might sell, ... well, .....

I agree with you though John.
Do everything you can to get it right the first time.
Crop only when absolutely necessary.

Good to see you have a place where one can come in here and holler a bit.
Will be back!!

Dalantech said...

Thanks Mike!

I think working with a customer is one of the exceptions -if they want it, and you want a pay check, well... ;)

Anonymous said...

I've been experimenting with the "no crop" mode off and on for the last couple months. The bottom line is I don't find a 3:2 aspect ratio aesthetically pleasing for most images. However, I have found that I can mentally partition the viewfinder (or use the viewfinder grid lines) to frame the subject with a more pleasing aspect ratio, and then crop the image later to match that visualization. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for reminding me that composing prior to shooting is really the way to go.

Looking forward to more of your great macros!


Dalantech said...

Thanks Glenn!

For me it's just a way to keep from getting lazy, so that I keep looking for new compositions.

PvR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PvR said...

I'm a fairly new reader of your blog and I am slowly reading your initial posts. I had assumed that No Cropping Zone was an indication that you wouldn't crop to get extra magnification for your macro efforts. Your actual reason didn't occur to me at all, although I understand the concept and am not surprised that you strive towards it.

Good thing I read this one.

Not that it really matters but I wonder if you see the recent comments in these older posts?



Dalantech said...

I get an email notification when someone comments Peter, and I read every comment :)