That is a question that you should ask yourself when viewing photos that you have taken, whether it was with a camera, phone, tablet or anything else. A good crop can turn a simple photo into an amazing one, and yet it is a simple procedure that you can do, with either basic software or the program in your device.
So, what to look for before deciding. If you have not taken a perfect shot, and we all make mistakes, missed a bit of leg or the top of someone’s head, look for something in the image that will become the focal point (that is the part of the photo that your eye is drawn to) and crop around it. There may be something that you didn’t want in the shot, such as a lamp post, which you can remove if it is near the edge of your picture.
Maybe you have taken a full-length shot of someone and by cropping it to head and shoulders, the shot has more impact.
A few other examples are:
A group shot cropped to one or two people. If you particularly want the entire group take several shots and use each shot for a different one or two people.
- A table set for a meal with several place settings, crop to just one place.
- A garden scene could be cropped to one plant or interesting feature.
- A street scene reduced to one street sign.
These examples demonstrate that, by cutting out all the excess detail, your image has just one focal point instead of many, and will be better for it.
When deciding which area to dispose of, the subject does not have to be in the centre. At times it can work better if it is on the left or right side depending on what the subject is doing. Pull the crop area around the image to see what looks best before finally deciding where to put it. It might be that the image is just fine, so to leave alone is the best option. The next time you take a photo and look at it, just ask yourself… to crop or not to crop.