Overly tight cropping & fashionable styles

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by NJH, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    This relates to something I have seen from a pro elsewhere on the net, and wouldn't be fair to link. To cut to the chase I really really don't like what seems like one of the current fads (sorry style), very tight cropping. In particular it's those cases where there is no obvious reason to crop out the subjects hair or half their legs but it is done anyway. Anyway's how do you feel about this style? or any of the other fashions?

    This reminds me as well of one of the most ludicrous comments I have ever read on a forum, again not posted here but elsewhere on a popular forum. The commentator criticised this poor guys images for not having the "pro look", further clarification revealed that what he actually meant was that the photographer hadn't followed a fad such as overly tight cropping, grainy B&W etc. etc. throughout a set of which I thought were perfectly decent shots.

    I hope this hasn't come across as a rant but I would really like to here some opinions in this area from you guys. In particular the pros that have lived through many fads.
  2. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    It may be that zealous cropping is toward not knowing in how large of a space the pic will be appearing. If you need to grab attention with a minimum of space, keep only what is absolutely essential to do just that.

    These fads are likely glombing onto ways others have found to grab attention. "LOOKIEE HERE!"

    As to the commentator, what a dingus. Guy wouldn't know an aperture from his ... ear hole.
  3. greenarcher02

    greenarcher02 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 13, 2012
    Manila, Philippines
    I'm just a newbie and... I'm thinking... am I guilty of this? lol. I think it depends but sometimes I do like tightly cropped photos... And it's part of the reason I bought an Oly 45mm.

    But then again... I'm not really sure what an unnecessarily cropped image looks like. And you might be thinking the first thing on my flickr is just that?
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I am someone who crops almost every image i make to some extent, often just minor tweaks other times more radical.

    To me cropping is an important part of the process, allowing me to remove extraneous elements that don't contribute to the image, or to rearrange elements to make a more satisfying composition.

    Do I over do it?.... am I slave to 'fashion'... I dont think so... but you may differ

    here is a recent example



    original crop


    a different crop ...same picture different story

    opinions welcome

  5. chip

    chip Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2012
    Connecticut, USA
    Hi Kevin,

    If you want the focus to be the girl, then I like the first cropping - with the girl to the right. The guy's forearm is a little attention grabbing, but it does serve as somewhat of a diagonal lead-in to the image - and leads your eye to the girl.

    The second one has a nice diagonal lead-in from the lower right, but I find myself more curious about the guy in the background than I do the girl. For that same reason, however, the second one is certainly an interesting composition. The guy's look, and whatever he is holding makes me study the image longer than I do the other one.

    For a fair comparison between the three of them, I would also like to see a black and white version of the uncropped original.
  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Thanks for the comments chip. The first crop was the one I went with...it was my instinctive crop. The second was a quick one just for this post to illustrate how a crop can change the story in a picture..

    I usually crop very quickly and instinctively. I come from a graphic design background...and if you look at my Flickr page you will see I like strong graphic compositions.


  7. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Actually, I have no idea what you are talking about. The first amateur mistake is that they show to much; the second is they show too little. A good photograph is always a tight crop in that it show no extraneous. Certainly, tight cropping is not a fad.

    Now many of these "I don't like that" kind of threads is all about personal taste. The other assumption with these threads is somehow you know exactly what photography should be. In this regards, art imitates life in that it will not simply be what you want it to be. The only factor in a image is whether it is effective in what you want. Period. Judgement from the outside is relevant. Surprisingly, the worst judge of photography is from the photographic community itself. If you do not like something it means one thing only; you don't like it.
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  8. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    BTW, I shoot full frame meaning I crop in the camera. Never later.
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Well put hikari


    PS just discovered that the iPad autocorrects hikari as hilarious!!!
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Each to their own.. I aspire to getting it rigght in the camera...but do will whatever it takes to get the final image that satisfys me

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  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't mind cropping, as long as it doesn't compromise the final image. Though I love telephoto lenses for this very reason! Whenever I get a 75mm 1.8, that will be the ultimate candid, close-crop lens for me! :wink:
  12. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    When I really didn't know what I was doing...:eek::redface::biggrin::tongue:
    But to this day, still continue to not know what I'm doing.....:happy-084:

    'Niko Laven' by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr
  13. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Never? That seems rather extreme...but whatever floats your boat.
  14. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    I tend in the same direction. Cropping changes or refines the portion of the photo that I want to highlight - the focal point if you will. You can tell different stories as your shots so clearly illustrate. Fill the frame is a good rule of thumb so long as it means eliminating extraneous material and presenting a coherent image.
  15. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    Real Name:
    I strive to take photos that has great framing but that is not always possible. I will crop if meeds be to get the results I am intending to convey. So, crop away! :)
  16. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Exactly. Each photographer finds their own method of working. What works for one, does not work for another. Whether shooting full frame is extreme or not does not really matter.

    BTW, a lot of professionals actually do shoot full frame (and a lot do not). It is hardly anything new.
  17. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Real Name:
    Exactly; I happen to like the "story" in this one, esp. the interplay between the out of focus guy on the left/front and his reflection in the girl's glasses. :wink:

    To the OP: are we talking in-camera composition/crop or PP? I shall also assume we are talking about people shooting.

    Now, what genre are we talking of? E.g. for Street Photography, a lot of times you have to crop just because of the conditions you have to work with. Not only cropping but rotation of the image is sometimes necessary.

    For portraits you can sometimes decide afterwards that a particular image "happens" to tell an interesting story if manipulated a certain way (see Kevin above).

    I don't know what is fashionable. I find it difficult to understand. For any well known photographer's style there are a dozen others completely different. It's just fine to immitate, but at some point you have to consider the words of the great Miles: "average artists borrow, great artists steal". :wink: When you make it "your own" it has no meaning talking about it anymore.
  18. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    On one hand this is a difficult thread to address in a short dissertation, but on the flip side ... this thread doesn't matter. I think this thread doesn't matter.

    There must be a reason to crop, whether it be in the camera or in post.

    Cropping tight just for the sake of cropping tight ('fashion') ... initially seems wrong ... but then again cropping for the sake of 'fashion' is actually a reason to crop. Conversely, one needs a reason not to crop ... or not to crop tightly, or ... et cetera.

    Cropping is all a matter of personal taste, just as not cropping is a matter of personal taste. I used to crop ala Hikari, only in the camera and then toss the ol' Henri filed-out-negative-carrier black borders on my prints to prove/boast that I didn't crop in post. (I suspect only a few of the old farts here will know what I'm talking about.)

    Recently, I feel those borders were pompous and sort-of an a-hole thing to do, so I've been cropping out the borders which displayed that I didn't crop. lol

    In my old age I crop most everything in post. I miss the skill level of my youth when I only cropped in the camera.


    PS- A sample of the borders I speak ...
  19. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I will add that when i do crop i generally stick to the aspect ratio of the full frame...occasionally i will try 3x2 as opposed to 4x3... and in extreme case i will switch from portrait to landscape or vice versa.

    I seldom if ever crop 'freestyle'

    but thats just me

    In the example i posted, this was a family dinner out at a restaurant... the subject is my partners niece, and the two guys are her cousins... the glasses belong to one of them.Its just a snapshot... but any story you want to impose on the picture comes from the cropping

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