Image Aspect Ratios and Cropping

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by BillN, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Morning Folks

    Image Aspect Ratios and Cropping

    Another basic question that I would appreciate some guidance upon

    We now have the “new” 4:3 format and traditionally there are the others that are, (have been), used in photography – i.e. 3:2, 16:9, 5:4, 6:7, 1:1.

    When an image is cropped it can be cropped to any size, (ratio)

    My question seeks guidance on “rules” regarding “cropping” – are there any - formal or otherwise? - i.e. is it “better” (should I), to stick to an established “ratio” or is anything permissible.

    Looking at images in the “Galleries” – most stick to the 1024 x 768 size, but other do not
     
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  2. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi Bill, I shoot raw (which is natively 4/3rds) and only crop if I intended to at capture, or if it occurs to me afterwards that the capture will work better in (usually) 16:9 or square, or I want to trim off a distracting object.

    4/3rds actually serves most of my needs naturally.

    I'd be interested in reading others' experience on this... thanks for the thread!

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  3. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Bill,
    I never crop. I prefer to crop in the camera before exposure. That comes from a long line of streetshooters.....it ain't the law, it's just my way.....

    There should be no Strict Standard on ratio. Ideally, after exposure, you would make an image....and then crop it until it is right to you. The exact ratio should have no bearing on it. Only the subject matter and the relationship within, should matter....

    This sure makes working without cropping an easier task.......
    Why don't I crop......hmmmm, glad ya asked......

    It it from many years doing my own darkroom work. I loved a black border on my images. My Leica enlargers had negative carriers that were cut to provide a nice black border. I could never figure out how to put a border on if I cropped the image.....
    So, I never cropped......

    Well, that's the tech reason,...
    the aesthetic reason is that I am a purest at heart and try to follow a tradition, (street work), established long before I even knew it existed.......
     
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  4. kathyh

    kathyh Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    36
    Jan 8, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape wrote an essay on the art of cropping which I found very interesting. It can be found here:http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/und-crop.shtml.

    I crop when I think it will make the image better and I don't necessarily stick to a specific aspect ratio.

    Kathy
     
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  5. texascbx

    texascbx Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    389
    Dec 30, 2009
    Texas
    I crop to make the composition better and generally follow the rule of thirds, ignoring aspect ratio.
     
  6. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    I try to compose at the time of capture - and when I think the composition requires a different aspect ratio (to 4/3rds), I make a mental note and do that in PP.

    There's always a chance I can improve composition after the capture with a crop - but I try to do it in the camera.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  7. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    this article says the most for me - it would be great to be able to do it all "in camera" everytime

    but I will never be anywhere near that skillfull
     
  8. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Sorry, Bill I don't believe that at all.... give it time......
    shooter
     
  9. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Correct, anything you want to be really good at... you have to be prepared to be crap at while you're practicing :horse:

    Practice makes perfect! :flypig:

    Cheers

    Brian

    p.s. love that we're allowed to say crap here :rofl:
     
  10. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Of course Bill, there are no hard and fast rules to photography... they're like walking along a path in the woods... sometimes the most spectacular finds are 20ft to the left of the path! Lol

    It's useful to find your way home knowing where the path is though. :biggrin:

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  11. Elliot

    Elliot Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    38
    Jan 22, 2010
    NORTHERN VIRGINIA USA
    A matter of personal choice and experimentation

    The EP-1 AND 2 offer easy ways of changing the format. I shoot mainly in the native 4/3, but took all of my cameras in the m43 bag and went out for day and shot in the 6.6 square format, with the understanding that their was going to be some pixel loss.

    Working within the constraints of just that format, which I worked in many years ago, I was able to fully visualize the square and a blast composing for it. It forced me to look a little harder, perhaps step back a bit further or move in a bit tighter but all in all produced some very nice results.

    Because we now have the ability to truly visualize what the format effect would be I think it is worth getting it right in the camera as much as possible before heading for the post processing desk.
     
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  12. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
  13. Robert Spoecker

    Robert Spoecker Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    72
    Jan 23, 2010
    What am I missing here? If I crop to anything but the 4/3 ratio aren't I throwing away pixels (getting a smaller image)?

    Why would I ever want to do that? if I keep in mind while shooting what aspect ratio I want to end up with I can shoot 4/3 and later crop it in almost any photo editing program and if I want to change my mind I can crop to any other ratio I wish.

    Reminds me a little of the old advertising ploy of 8x optical zoom and (oh joy) up to 12x digital zoom. The digital zoom is accomplished by throwing away pixels which also can be accomplished by cropping the edges out and displaying the center larger.

    Ummm, no thanks,

    Robert
     
  14. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Best of both worlds... set the aspect ratio (e.g. 6:6 square format) for composing with live view - and shoot raw which captures the whole sensor area - unfortunately, only Olympus Master/Studio will read the aspect ratio from the raw file to apply as default.

    But it's a good way to keep all the image data and shoot whatever aspect ratio you want to compose with.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  15. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Your not missing anything. Also, the cropped aspect ratio in camera will not show up in a raw file.
    The 4/3 ratio is a very complex visually.
    There's little tension created by the framing so you have to create the tension carefully with subject matter.
    Shooter
     
  16. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    I do my level best to get as much done in camera. However, from time to time it all goes tits-up and post-processing has to save my butt.
     
  17. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    Jason
    I would thing that cropping at time of taking the picture would be the best way to do it, but most cameras don't have a really easy way of changing the aspect ratio quickly.

    What I normaly do is take the picture in 4:3 and have the apsect ratio in mind at time of taking the picture.
    For example, here: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=288&page=3

    When I took the picture of the cityscape, when I took it, I already knew I wanted it in 16:9 aspect ratio, and composed for it, even thought he original picture was in 4:3.
     
  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    Jason

    This is extremly hard for me when I have a nagging GF who's ready to go do something else!:eek:
     
  19. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Fascinating, could you expand on this a little Don... what do you mean by visually complex? do you mean by little tension, that the image looks 'normal' - I can relate to that when thinking of how I use 16:9 and square sometimes.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  20. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Brian,
    I'll be glad to when I get to my computer.
    The iphoney is hard to write much....

    Stay tuned.....