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Cream of the Crop

Cream of the Crop

Assignment L13

The landscape is a diverse and varied place. It can be flat, hilly, mountainous, empty, or busy. Therefore, it is unrealistic to think your camera’s native aspect ratio will suit every scene you shoot. Aspect ratio is the term used to describe the dimensions of an image by comparing its width and height. Most cameras have a standard aspect ratio of either 3:2 or 4:3. Some cameras allow you to alter the aspect ratio before or after taking the photograph, but many do not. Instead, you will need to crop your images during post-processing. 

This assignment is intended to teach the importance of framing and choosing the aspect ratio best suited to any given scene. Cropping is not cheating, it is an important part of the compositional process: it can alter and enhance the balance and harmony of a photograph, help place greater emphasis on the main subject, or remove distractions. 

Cropping is just about the most basic adjustment you can make to a photograph, but it is an important step that can make or break your composition. 

View the images

Technique

  • Avoid cropping photographs excessively. Do not discard lots of pixels and reduce image quality needlessly. 
  • Editing software allows you to quickly select from a choice of popular aspect ratios, or you can select “Unconstrained” to create a custom crop. 
  • One disadvantage of creating a custom crop is that unconventional dimensions can complicate mounting and framing your image. 

Special Kit

  • Post-processing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom 

Field Notes

  • Cropping shouldn’t be an afterthought to compensate for lazy composition. Instead, consider which aspect ratio will suit your shot best prior to pressing the shutter-release button. This will help you to optimize your composition to suit your intended crop.