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Al Tee
22-10-10, 09:25
What are you?

Are you a meticulous composer of your images or are you like me, a 'serial' cropper!

I tend to see a vague image in my mind, fire off a few shots then kind of bodge & butcher it in photoshop in the hope I might obtain something presentable!

Just interested to see how people go about their shots..

Al.

surfg1mp
22-10-10, 10:54
I really quite anal about this......

I hate having to crop, and most of the time the only time i do is if i have to correct lens distortion or a wonky horizon.

I definitely try to compose the shot rather than do it after in post. In my head its like why would i want to turn my 12 mp camera into say a 5mp camera depending on the harshness of the crop.

if i do crop, i will generally always try to use the shift key, so i keep the aspect ratio.

Gidders
22-10-10, 12:36
I try to be like Lee ... but in practice I'm more like Al :rolleyes:

postcardcv
22-10-10, 16:40
I don't like cropping if I can help it but unfortunately more often than not when I look and the photos on the computer I then see how I should have shot it and end up cropping a bit. I am a bit obsessive about keeping shots in a 2:3 ratio, when doing paid work I only offer prints of this ratio.

miketoll
22-10-10, 20:53
I try to compose and crop as much as possible in camera and do as little cropping as possible on the computer. I have it in my minds eye what I want even if I do not get it.

Nigel G
23-10-10, 00:29
I can almost invariably find a better composition if I crop than the one I started with. So much so i normally leave a bit extra round what I want in case something better occurs to me afterwards.

Roy C
23-10-10, 10:49
I mainly shoot birds where cropping is almost essential unless shooting from hides at 'statues'. I almost always use the centre point only and with flighty birds you have not got time to compose so most birds end up in the centre of the frame which mean you have to crop if only to make a decent compo. Also with birds the problem is always getting near enough so cropping can also help in that department.

surfg1mp
23-10-10, 11:33
I can almost invariably find a better composition if I crop than the one I started with. So much so i normally leave a bit extra round what I want in case something better occurs to me afterwards.

Thats a good tip Nigel, When shooting landscapes, i nearly always have to correct the barrel distortion so have to crop slightly. having that extra space would allow for this.

I mainly shoot birds where cropping is almost essential unless shooting from hides at 'statues'. I almost always use the centre point only and with flighty birds you have not got time to compose so most birds end up in the centre of the frame which mean you have to crop if only to make a decent compo. Also with birds the problem is always getting near enough so cropping can also help in that department.

Thats also a good tip roy, i have always wondered how you guys manage to get such great compositions when photographing flighty birds.

yelvertoft
23-10-10, 14:23
Somewhere in between Al and Lee. Mrs Y is a die hard compose in camera and if you have to crop, you didn't do the job properly in the first place. I find that I leave a little bit to give scope to experiment as Mike suggests and allowing minor adjustment to the horizon or other distortions. Also, I find that leaving a little bit of scope to crop allows for the overlap of a mount if framing.

robski
23-10-10, 16:05
Like Roy most of my subject matter is never still for more than a second or two and rarely frame filling so the focus is on getting the shot rather than accurate composition. At the end of the day if the subject can be cropped to give a good composition then that's a bonus.

So Peter are all your prints 12x18 or 6x9 ?

On the rare occasions I do try to compose in camera I try to leave a bit of slack for those minor tweaks. If I do get them printed they tend to be 7x5 or 10x8

postcardcv
23-10-10, 21:31
So Peter are all your prints 12x18 or 6x9 ?

On the rare occasions I do try to compose in camera I try to leave a bit of slack for those minor tweaks. If I do get them printed they tend to be 7x5 or 10x8

yeah I only offer prints in that ratio - I mainly do 6x9, 8x12 and 12x18, but will do any size print so long as it's a 2:3 ratio. For me I take photos in that ratio and I find cropping into other ratios a real pain as it often doesn't work.

miketoll
23-10-10, 21:33
Seems to be a bit of a divide on the type of photography, my compose in camera as much as possible is for landscape or other essentially fixed subject. When I try action shots, especially birds then its a case of trying to get them sharp and if birds in flight then I have to add trying to get the exposure right too.

gordon g
29-10-10, 12:44
As others have said, to a certain extent it depends on the subject matter - birds, especially in flight, and action sport I will frequently leave myself room to crop, but landscapes or plant life, I far prefer to compose correctly in camera. (That said, I do sometimes compose with a square or 5:4 composition in mind, but in these cases, the crop is preplanned).
Why I do this I'm not quite sure, other than the fact that I enjoy the process of composition, and find I generally produce better images when I have thought about using the whole frame rather than taking an image that has the finished product 'in there somewhere'. But then, in this digital age, I also still try to get as much of the exposure etc right in camera too, so spend some time balancing ND grads etc rather than merging exposures afterwards. The time spent is probably similar, but in general I would rather spend it outside in the landscape than inside at my desk!

Glenvic
29-10-10, 13:02
Me - a bit of both really. Try to compose in camera - rarely fully succeed and end up cropping! As long as I am happy with the image a crop if okay with me.

Gidders
29-10-10, 14:03
I really quite anal about this......

If I do crop, i will generally always try to use the shift key, so i keep the aspect ratio.

I don't like cropping if I can help it but ...

I am a bit obsessive about keeping shots in a 2:3 ratio, when doing paid work I only offer prints of this ratio.

I'm afraid I don't get why you guys insist on having you image dimension dictated to you by you sensor dimensions ... I meant why limit your creative opportunities and have potentially dead space in your images :confused:

I will often find myself thinking even at the taking stage that I want to remove some of the uninteresting foreground, and if I move in to do that in camera, then I lose some of the subject matter. So I compose with it all and the crop the image to what ever dimensions work best.

So for example: -

6749
I think this image has been improved by removing the blank sky above the bridge and the expanse of boring grass in the foreground

6750
Here I've removed some blank wall

6752
Again I've cropped out some uninteresting sky & cluttered foreground

6751
Here I think the impact would be totally lost if constrained to 3 x 2

As always just my two penneth ;)

Al Tee
29-10-10, 14:21
Turning out very interesting reading everyone's opinion, viewpoint. Some with a rigid format in mind, others with a more flexible approach. Everyone to their own.

Quite honestly I can further admit, without exaggeration, that a good 70% of my shots are taken without even looking through the viewfinder; SLR or compact; of the last 40 or so that I've posted probably more like 85%. (OK it shows, I know)!

I consider shallow or deep, adjust in AP mode & fire from all sorts of angles. In my opinion that's what the recycle bins for!

Has anyone else tried this approach? Would you try it?

Al.

gordon g
29-10-10, 14:40
I'm afraid I don't get why you guys insist on having you image dimension dictated to you by you sensor dimensions

I understand your point Clive, and on occasion I do the same. But it is much easier sourcing mounts and frames in standard ratios than custom ones. When I get round to doing my own (probably not this side of retirement, so dont hold your breath anyone...) then that might change.

Birdsnapper
29-10-10, 21:19
I go along with Clive 100% (and great images there, Clive).

Lee
31-10-10, 16:28
me ,tend to do both,if i have a specific shot and allow myself the time , then all in camera,but when wandering around and something changes my eye (sometimes in the strangest of places.....) then there will be an element of cropping... as the majority of my shots are handheld think that it would work out at a 70/30 split in favour of cropping...

Tugboat
01-11-10, 09:42
I always have something in mind when I take photos but, I can't see that well in the viewfinder/LCD screen, so I take lots of shots from all angles and its not till I open them up on the computer that I can see what I have and I nearly always crop something, I always crop to what I think makes a good image, mind you I have never printed out anything I have taken yet, things may change as I learn more...my recycle bin gets a good work out!!!!

Don Hoey
01-11-10, 21:00
I go along with Clive on this one. If the subject suits the full frame then fine, but otherwise I will happily crop. I remember a long discussion I had with Foxy and his crop to fixed aspect ratio's if he had to. Hours later and both sides of the argument remained valid so I think its down to personal style/preference.

I guess Jim and I would have the same argument as he is a non cropper and I respect that, but then I got one over on him by lending him a 6x6, so now he is having to learn to compose square with that, and rectangular with the D200 on the same shoot.
He is lucky I did not have a 6x4.5, 6x7, 6x8 and 6x9 to lend him as well or he really would have been in trouble. :D :D :D

Don

petrochemist
23-12-10, 11:47
I generally try to compose in camera as much as possible, but I'm not adverse to cropping to improve the image afterwards (sometimes even going a bit far for my 6MP camera, to remove distractions etc.)

With action shots I've frequently found I don't leave enough cropping room, & get photos with the edges of the main subject just out of view, ruining the shot. Hopefully I'll learn to leave a bit more for subsequent cropping.

I generally prefer to keep the aspect ratio, it was chosen as a pleasing ratio to the eye after all, but I've had several images where this didn't work at all & I've changed the ratio drastically, going to 3:1 or more.

I sometimes think that every rule in photography needs to be broken for one image or another - The only exception being 'if you like it, it's good'.:)

rinso
23-12-10, 14:41
For me the picture the camera produces is only an intermediate state. The final image is made with the computer. Although I try to get the compo correct in the viewfinder, I will make the final judgement on the big screen.
And being from the analogue era, I do not believe in fixed dimensions for my photos.

andy153
11-01-11, 20:26
I crop quite a lot. I always try to get the shot in the camera but invariably find that when I get it on screen cropping can improve my original image.

Takahashi
13-01-11, 20:52
I think I'm in agreement with most on this subject; I compose as best I can while taking the shot, but sometimes a crop can make a shot "better", e.g. in creating a different perspective that you may not have picked-up on at the time. I most definitely do not deliberately just snap away at things with the comforting thought that I can crop extraneous details later. To me, framing a shot is a sizeable percentage of the whole. :)

J A Mortram
29-01-11, 14:07
Haha Don! You are SO right! I 99.9 percent of the time will never want to crop... all in frame.. if ever just a few mm from an edge to clean a line up. Using the Yashica is indeed a challenge but a joy! Thank you.

Hopefully, I think what helped me was 7 years at art school studying painting... much composition elements within that as you're faced with a blank space and have to fill it every time and the lessons and concepts I learned there for sure influenced my decisions when I look through the viewfinder :)

nldunne
01-04-11, 19:27
I took the measurements from this web site
http://goldennumber.net/index.htm
and measured out my MAJOR LINES for my GRID - BASED on my PERIMETER LINES - on a sheet of GRAPH PAPER. That GRAPH PAPER I tooK to a PHOTO COPY SHOP and had THE GRID put on a sheet of CLEAR PLASTIC for OVERHEAD PROJECTERS. Here is the paper copy at 6 X 4 inches they gave me - when they did my PLASTIC SHEET - as a reference. I have to adjust my scanner to keep from losing lines from the GRAPH PAPER.

This GRID has helped me greatly with my compositions. When I do my composition - overlay the GRID on any image - move it to place a cross point on any point of interest. Note where you put it - and put the cross point on your image in the same approx place - moving the crop outline until it fits the outer outline of the GRID. When that is done, move the GRID a bit on an angle and you can check how ALL DIAGONAL LINES go to their VANISHING POINTS.

GHK
30-11-12, 20:37
I find that a combination of both is necessary in the majority of cases.
Composing in the viewfinder I use the zoom and look at the left and right edges to find a position that includes the things that I want to appear in my final print but excludes as much unnecessary stuff as possible. I now look to see if there is unwanted stuff near the top or bottom edge.
If there is, I shoot and crop the unwanted stuff later in Photoshop.
If there isn't, I zoom out a bit to see if it reveals anything else that I want to include until I reveal unwanted material, then back in a bit to get rid of the surplus. This now includes unwanted stuff in the horizontal plane, but I shoot and crop it out later.
The important thing is that I get what I want but finish with as little waste as possible because I only have to crop in one direction.