"Sharing life's adventures through photography"

Should The Photo Be Cropped?

Sometimes a picture includes more than it should because you can't get close enough to the subject. So, don't be afraid to crop the image and eliminate that unwanted area that does not contribute to the final composition by using an editing program such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Lightroom or any other editing program to zoom in and draw attention to your main subject.

Back in the days of shooting film, especially slides, it was preferable to crop in camera before the shutter button was ever pressed, but now with digital, it's not as critical to crop in camera, though it's still best to do so if possible.

The top picture below was taken with my Nikkor 70-300 zoom lens at 300mm on a Nikon D300 camera body. With the camera's crop factor of 1.5x, my effective focal length was 450mm, but still way to short to eliminate excess area around this black bear in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I couldn't get any closer to the bear munching on walnuts because park employees and volunteers had roped off an area with yellow tape approximately fifty yards away and would not allow any one to approach closer.

As you can see in the bottom photograph, I cropped the image which eliminated both fence posts, the strand of wire and some of the grasses. Now the viewers eye is drawn to the subject which is the bear, and not to other distracting elements, so don't be afraid to crop if it will improve the look of the final image you want your audience to see.

I took this photograph on November 2, 2015 while it was drizzling rain as evidenced by the bear's wet coat. My exposure was 1/250 second at f/5.6 at an ISO of 1600.

Uncropped image of black bear - Picture #151102-8013
Uncropped Photograph
Cropped image of black bear - Picture #151102-8013
Cropped Photograph
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Last updated or revised on July 21, 2020.
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