6 Tips for Cropping Your Images Like a Pro

We often take for granted the potential of reshaping and cutting a photo to bring out its full beauty and power. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced in photography, cropping can elevate your shots to unheard of heights.

Photography often overlooks the advantages of cropping a photo, but the reality is that it can completely alter the outlook of your photographs. By reframing a picture carefully, you can guide your viewers’ eyes to the most relevant parts of the image.

If you want to exploit the potential of the cropping tool to the fullest, our best suggestions can come to your rescue. We have compiled these six top techniques for cropping photos, enabling you to use this handy tool with purposeful intent rather than leave it to a simple afterthought.

1. Use the Rule of Thirds

Compositional balance is achievable with the rule of thirds. Divide your image into 9 rectangles, like a 3×3 grid, to ensure focus is concentrated on the most important elements. Some cameras offer a grid function to facilitate composition, while many editing programs, specifically designed to crop images (either online or offline) offer tools to overlay the grid while editing photos. 

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When it comes to cropping photos with people or any other figures, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Taking the time to think carefully about the effects of this action can make a huge difference in the overall appearance and impact of an image. In order to ensure that your photos come out looking their best, keep in mind the following suggestions.

2. Beware When Cropping Photos with Figures

It is never a good idea to crop figures when taking photos – humans or animals. Doing so can cause awkward positioning and drastically detract from the quality of the shot. Leaving figures intact is always preferable in order to ensure a seamless and pleasing photograph.

For close-up shots, maintaining your subject at eye-level is ideal in order to maximize focus on the face. However, caution should be exercised to avoid giving an unintentional hair cut or making someone look like they are missing a patch of skin around their eyes.

3. Don’t Always Center your Subject

Achieving a perfectly balanced, centered subject can be an aesthetically pleasing endeavor, yet it can be equally captivating to experiment with off-centered compositions. Utilizing the rule of thirds to guide you, off-centring a subject can be an alternative way to achieve equilibrium, oftentimes resulting in a unique and distinctive image.

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With that being said, don’t let the center of your subject become a mainstay in your work. Instead, explore different angles and approaches to illustrate its significance. Variety can lead to more effective storytelling.

4. Tell a Story When Cropping a Series of Images

When editing a series of images, why not take it a step further by telling a story using them? Imagine how much more powerful and impactful your visuals would be if properly composed to provide an intentional narrative. Cropping goes beyond the simple trimming of edges; envision how an image can be cut for maximum user engagement, captivating the audience with compelling moments. Thinking of your photographs in terms of stories will surely be an advantage both figuratively and literally.

Also, narrowing your focus to the most crucial parts makes it easier to deliver your message without any extraneous details distracting the viewer.

When crafting a set of visuals, it’s vital to think about their intent and whether a variety of images are necessary. Speculate if you’re going for a narrative or to capture a particular atmosphere.

5. Take Care when Resizing Portraits

It is of utmost importance to be mindful when it comes to resizing any type of portrait. It requires precision and accuracy, and can be a tricky business if not done correctly. Therefore, take caution when scaling or changing the dimensions of an image, as this can drastically alter the outcome.

Here are some general rules when it comes to cropping portraits:

  1. Avoid trimming any more than necessary. A successful image should always include a hint of the figure’s proportions.
  2. Avoid trimming near areas of articulation, for example, the elbows, knees and ankles.
  3. To frame the focus of a face more sharply, rather than chopping off the chin, strive to maintain the top of the head while trimming away some of the top of the pic.

6. Leave Copy Space in your Crops

While cropping out large and seemingly empty spaces could be a desirable idea,  such as large, cloud-filled skies, it may be beneficial to preserve these in the frame for optimum composition.

When aiming to appeal to those in search of photos for publications, such as book covers or magazine features, remember to plan ahead and allow space for additional text during the creation process. This is known as copyspace; a designated section on the image where words can be placed smoothly and distinctly.

These are our best tips for cropping photos, and each of them can serve as a great starting point if you truly want to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your photos.

Last Updated on December 15th, 2023